Reads the Salesian Bulletin
Maria Troncatti was born in Corteno Golgi, in the province of Brescia, on February 16, 1883 to a large family of mountain farmers. She grew up happy and hardworking among the fields and the care of her siblings, in a warm atmosphere of parental affection. When the Salesian Bulletin came to Corteno, Maria, rich in Christian values, began thinking of a religious vocation. Initially, her father disagreed. Yet as soon as his daughter was of legal age, 21, he gave his consent. Maria asked to be admitted to the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and made her first profession in 1908 at Nizza Monferrato.
Destined for missions in Ecuador
During World War I, she attended health care courses in Varazze and worked as a Red Cross nurse in the military hospital. Following a violent storm, Maria promised Our Lady that if She saved her life, she would leave for the missions. Our Lady saved her, and Sr. Maria asked Mother General if she could go among the lepers. Seven years later, Mother Caterina Daghero sent her to Ecuador.
In 1925, she landed in the Bay of Guayaquil and reached Chunchi, where she was a nurse and pharmacist for a short time. Accompanied by the missionary Bishop Comin and a small expedition group, Sr. Maria and two other sisters entered the Amazon forest.
Among the Shuar Indios
Their mission field was the land of the Shuar Indians in the southeastern part of Ecuador. As soon as they arrived in Mendez, Sr. Maria earned the esteem of the Shuar tribe by working with a penknife to save the daughter of a chief. She had been wounded by a bullet. They settled permanently in Macas, a village of settlers surrounded by the collective housing of the Shuar, in a small house on a hill. Just as Don Bosco was a father and teacher, Sr. Maria became a mother. For 44 years, she would be known as "Madrecita" by everyone.
A difficult work of evangelisation began in the midst of all kinds of risks. She was a nurse, surgeon, orthopedist, dentist, and anesthesiologist. Yet she remained above all a catechist rich in wonderful resources of faith, patience, and Salesian kindness. Her work for the promotion of the Shuar woman flourished in hundreds of new Christian families, who for could make a free personal choice as young spouses the first time. She worked mainly in the field of education and health at the Pius XII hospital in Sucúa and in numerous clinics. She is the mother of the missions of the Apostolic Vicariate of Méndez—Mácas, Méndez, Sevilla don Bosco and Sucúa—and made endless visits into the Amazon jungle.
Dies in an accident
On August 25, 1969, Sr. Maria was about to fly to Sucúa for a retreat. The plane crashed shortly after take-off. The Shuar Federation radio gave the sad announcement: "Our Mother, Sr. Maria Troncatti, is dead." Her body lies in Macas.
Biography taken and edited from www.sdb.org.