Maria Soledad Torres Acosta

1826 – 1887

As a child in Madrid, Spain, Manuela Torres Acosta reportedly was more intent on getting playmates to pray than to play. In 1851, she and six companions were invited by a Servite priest to provide home care to the sick of his parish. Taking the name Maria Soledad to honor Our Lady of Sorrows and overcoming her fear of nursing, she became a founder of the Handmaids of Mary Serving the Sick. As superior for 35 years, she oversaw the congregation’s rapid expansion and battled government opposition; she was canonized in 1970. One of her novices said, “Mother Soledad is like an anvil; she is constantly taking a beating.”

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