Sr.Maria Troncatti was born in Italy, at Corteno Golgi,in the province of Brescia on 16th February 1883. Herparents were Giacomo Troncatti and Maria Rodondi.At her baptism she received the name MariaBenvenuta.
She grew up in a large happy family working inthe fields, caring for her sisters and brotherswith warm affection.
One day she was lost in the mountains, asshe was looking after the sheep. Theirparents were searching but early morningthey found her in deep sleep. Father asked her, “Were you afraid Maria?” She answered “No, Papa. I still had the grace of the Holy Communion which I received three days ago in my heart. The Lord took care of me”.
Every month Miss Buila, her teacherreceived a Salesian Bulletin which shegave to Maria to read. Maria then becameaware of the wonderful works in themission lands.
One day Maria said to her sister Catherina,“I like to become amissionary and workfor lepers”.
After her 21st birthday she wrote to Fr. Michael Rua, thesuccessor of Don Bosco. The letter was passed toMother Catherine Daghero, the Superior General of theDaughters of Mary help of Christians.She reached Nizza Monferrato.
As time passed the sisters thought whether she was normal and happy to become a religious.She was suffocated in Maria was confused.the midst of the rules “I am nothing . Howand regulations of could a poor mountainthis new life. girl succeed?”
One day Mother General took her for a walkin the vegetable garden and told her jokingly,“Do you see the pumpkins? They are so bigand beautiful because they are watered by thetears of the postulants” and left her in thegarden and went away.
The Parish Priest of Corteno asked her,“Where is your enthusiasm? Where is yourusual cheerfulness?” She was challengedand she resumed her usual nature. 12
“Lord I want to beyours for ever. Jesus Ihave left all that I helddearest to serve youand sanctify my soul.Yes, I have left all.”This was the prayer of Sr. Maria.
On 12th September 1908, she becamea daughter of Mary Help of Christians. She was assigned to be a cook in Rosignano Monferrato. She was then transferred to Varazze, where she remained for ten years.
“Simplicity, readiness and constancy in fulfillingone’s own duty is God’s will for us. We have toaccomplish all our duties.” That’s what she told thegirls. 15
Italy faced the first World War in 1915. “Lord if you save me I willShe miraculously escaped go as a missionary to workfrom the flooded water of River among the lepers.” SheTeiro. It was then that Sr. Maria kept her promise.prayed.
Marina a little girl prophesied on her deathbed, “Sr.Maria you will go to Ecuador”.
“When we depart wemust leave our relativesand country peacefully.Jesus walks ahead ofus making, the thornsless piercing but Hewants us to follow himwith courage.”
After a difficult journey on horseback they reached Chunchi.She treated the poorestwith medicines and withmuch love..
Chunchi was only a preparationfor the Mission in the Amazonjungle.
They arrived at Mendes. Therethey experienced the adventureof an operation on the chief’sdaughter.The operation was successfullydone in the name of Mary Help ofChristians.They received their freedom toenter the mission.
They arrived at Macas.Bishop Comin, before leavingthem said, “Take an intereston the Shuars. The Holy seehas entrusted them to me.They are my beloved flock”.
Sr. Maria as a community animatorlooked after the people and theirneeds. She was for all a‘Madrecita Buena’.Sr. Maria diagnosed, offeredremedies for illnesses, dressedwounds, acted as surgeon,pharmacist, obstetrician anddentist.
At the beginning of the new schoolyear, two shuar pupils entered theclass with the children of thecolonists. It was somethingextraordinary in those times.Barriers, separation and prejudice,had collapsed. It became amulticultural school today.
In 1940, 64 boys and girlswent to school, receivedreligious instructionsand sacraments.
The law of the forest allowed for polygamy and it was difficultto oppose the tradition.Patience and confidence in the action of the Holy Spirit bore itsfruit. On December 20,1930, the first Christian marriage wascelebrated.
The Upano river, flooded so suddenly and violently. Onthe other side the immense forest stretched out, dottedwith shuar settlements. Would it be feasible to set up astable mission there? That was her preoccupation.
An opportunity came.A shuar delegationpresented an officialrequest to themissionaries atMacas, to set up amission centre intheir territory.
When she finished herterm as an animator ofMacas, she wasentrusted with the newmission of Sucua.
During the night of January15,1938, a serious firebroke out possibly causedby the colonists. Themissionaries showedforgiveness but everythinghad to be rebuilt.
The shuar wanted a reprisal andthey came to the missionbrandishing their traditionalweapons. Sr.Maria thwarted theirplans.“We taught you to loveand pardon offences. If youreally love me, lay down yourweapons at my feet.” she said.They obeyed her. The dry stickreally had flowered.
There were constant newarrivals at the residentialschool. Poor girls without afamily or those who havebeen illtreated had to runaway from home indesperation. For Sr.Maria they were gifts.
In 1944 the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Salesianmission in Eastern Equador was celebrated. The young BishopDomenico Comin had asked the Pope Benedict XV: “Is it not likewatering a dry stick to work among the Shuar?”
Sr. Maria proposed theformation of Christian nurses.Fr.Juan, the Director of themission accepted theproposal. Thus each missioncentre in the area had itsnurse. Women became evermore aware of their potential.
Sr.Maria was thecommunityanimator, nurseand catechist. Shewas able to buildup an atmosphereof loving affectionand intensespirituality.
Sr.Maria’s greatdream was to builda hospital for thepoor. The SalesianFr. Natale Nova,whom she hadconvincedundertook theconstruction.
The Shuar people were graduallybecoming aware of the rights.The ministry recognized and gavethe approval. On October 22ndabout 70 centres assembled for aconference. Its objectives wereeconomic development andethnic self awareness..
On August 5th, 1969 Sr.Maria went to Macas for theFeast. She said to Sr.Piorina,“The Purissima told me toprepare myself becausesomething serious is goingto happen to me very soon.”
On August 25, 1969, Sr.Marialeft from Sucua for her spiritualretreat with two young sisters.A few minutes after takeoff, theplane crashed into a bananaplantation. She was the onlyfatality. Her offering had beenaccepted.
As the funeral cortege entered theroad to the cemetery,a rainbowappeared among the clouds. Itlasted until the end of the burial. Itwas a luminous sign of the Fatherfor the one who had loved withoutmeasure.
She was kept in theParish cemetery.Sr. Maria Troncatti, is anincomparable interpreterof the goodness ofChrist.
On November 24th,2012 the Servant of GodSr. Maria Troncatti willbe beatified in Macas -Ecuador.