Sr Maria Blasigni

A tribute to Sr Maria Blasigni

an example of Holiness,
Daughter of Charity of the Province of Belo Horizonte, Brasil

In a broader concept of holiness, we consider “holy” a person who witnesses to Christ in his or her way of living, loving and serving.

Emma Geosepha Blasigni, Sr. Maria, was born in Três Barras on February 28, 1904. She was the daughter of Adão Blasigni, Austrian and Ernestra Blasigni, Italian. She had a hard life. The family was very poor and little Emma was a weak and sick child. While she was doing household chores, she cherished her dream of devoting her life entirely to God and her brothers and sisters.

Due to her small stature, slim and fragile posture she had difficulty being admitted to the Consecrated Life. Nevertheless, on February 17, 1928, she was welcomed into the Company of the Daughters of Charity, beginning her formation in the Seminary, where she adopted the simple name of Sister Maria.

In the beginning, she worked in a hospital in Rio de Janeiro for 20 years. In 1949 she arrived at a difficult time in the city of Bom Despacho, Minas Gerais. Bom Despacho was poor city with few people of great resources. Sister Maria was not afraid of work or of difficulties. She had been forged in hard work. For this reason she did not hesitate before obstacles. With a great disposition, she spent 44 years in Bom Despacho where she dedicated herself to solidarity and the struggle to rescue the poorest, the most suffering, the most destitute.

She often visited those who lived in huts and miserable ranches set along a dusty Quenta Sol road, taking on the mission of changing that reality. Every day she distributed soup to the needy. She begged to get food and other resources. She asked for clothes, building materials, food, for support and collaboration… When she could not get anything that she needed, she would begin to pray with piety and devotion and God would listen to her prayers. However, Sr Maria was not one of those people who were content to give food to the needy and go. She wanted people to improve, to progress, to have a decent life. In this sense, she created a community laundry, taught the families to grow a vegetable garden in their backyard, arranged doctors for weekly consultations and managed the donation of medicines and other necessities. She also wanted everyone to have a profession. Because of this, she always provided practical classes: embroidery, sewing, cooking… Finally, she dedicated herself to the education of children, convincing parents of the importance of education for their children.

She devoted so much attention to this that at the beginning she taught under a tree in the sun. The children sat around her and she taught her lessons. However, she soon concluded that this was not enough. Courageous and brave, she set about building a school. In order to do so, she joined the children and hunted for stones in the streets of the city to make the base of the school; then came the donations. Ready for school, Sister Maria would go door-to-door picking up the kids and leading them into the classroom. In addition, she still found time for the catechesis of the children. Her missionary and evangelizing efforts resulted in the complete transformation of the Quenta Sol. This old street is now a modern and affluent neighbourhood of the city of Bom Despacho, called São Vicente.

Sister Maria died at age 89 on April 28, 1993, leaving a trail of holiness, kindness, faith, understanding and charity. She is not a canonized saint. She is a saint of life. She served with love, justice and charity. She welcomed the poor, educated and taught them catechism; she promoted people. She was truly a missionary.

Sr. Jane Carla G. Souza – Province of Belo Horizonte

(Taken from the book: Eis a serva da caridade)