Blessed María Emilia Riquelme y Zayas

Blessed María Emilia Riquelme y ZayasMemorial


Born to pious parents, the daughter of Joaquín Riquelme y Gómez and María Emilia Zayas de la Vega. She received a good education, studying painting, singing, piano and languages. At age 7, Maria received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus; she made a vow to devote herself to God, and consecrated herself to Our Lady of Carmel. Maria’s mother died when the girl was 8 years old.

As she grew older, she explained her call to religious life to her father; he wouldn’t have it, and arranged many social events for her; she wouldn’t have it and ignored most of them to spend her time visiting hospitals and ministering to the poor. Any money she received, she gave away to poor young women to keep them from a life of prostitution, and to young men who felt a call to the priesthood.

When her father died in 1885, Maria tried to enter religious life, but health problems forced her to give up. She built a chapel at her house, and spent her time praying and helping the poor. Her work and personal piety attracted other like-minded women, and they formed a community which became the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mary Immaculate. They received archdiocesan approval in 1896, and Mother Maria became their superior, serving the remaining 44 years of her life. The Missionaries continue their good work today in Spain, Portugal, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and the United States.






MLA Citation

  • “Blessed María Emilia Riquelme y Zayas“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 May 2021. Web. 12 June 2021. <>