Saintly Nun and Foundress is Beatified in Colombia - Blessed Maria Berenice Duque Hencker of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Annunciation

Blessed Maria Berenice Duque Hencker was beatified in Colombia on October 29th, in Medellín, Colombia. The prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, presided over the beatification of the nun who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Annunciation. In his homily, he highlighted the traits that make her similar to the Mother of Jesus, her life of faith in the midst of uncertainties and difficulties and her love for the poorest and children. 

 Maria Hencker lived between the 19th and 20th centuries, and was proclaimed blessed in the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Medellín, Colombia. Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, represented the Pope at Mass with the rite of beatification, and explained in his homily that during the process that brought the nun, born Anna Julia, to the honors of the altars, the theological consultants agreed to define her as "humble". “It is very important because the foundation of all Christian virtues is humility,” continued the cardinal, “Saint Augustine said: 'Do you want to be high?' Start with the lowest. If you think of building the high edifice of holiness, first prepare the foundations of humility. 
The main concern of the Dominican nun, originally from Salamina, who founded a new religious family in 1943, was to help the marginalized of society and to respond to the concrete needs of the population. Wishing to carry the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth and animated by a missionary zeal, she also wished to establish communities in other countries. 
Cardinal Semeraro recalled that Mother Maria Berenice always had “the Virgin Mary of the Annunciation as her model”, to whom she dedicated her first religious foundation: the Sisters of the Annunciation. She herself lived her daily life in the essential, considering herself as a "little worm", a "waste", a "nothing". In his sermon, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints, drawing inspiration from the liturgical readings, drew a parallel between the figure of Mary and that of Mother Maria Berenice. The Virgin is an example for us "feeling small in the face of the greatness of the mission with which she feels invested" at the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel, she remains humble and calls herself "the servant of the Lord", "she responds with humble words" and "she will always remain so: humble". 
The Cardinal quoted, in this regard, the words of Pope Francis during the Angelus of December 24, 2017: "Mary does not get excited at the prospect of becoming even the mother of the Messiah, but she remains modest and expresses its adhesion to the plan of the Lord”.
Beware of the poor and the little ones “One must live by faith...the how, however, is left to us, to our creativity. God, indeed, always leaves us free,” the cardinal stressed, adding that “living by faith does not mean having a recipe for problems, but seeking a personal response each time, considering God's styles and grasping the challenges of history”. It is holiness. Mother Maria Berenice searched “day after day, with difficulty, with suffering, overcoming many trials” how to respond to God, in the midst of contrasts and misunderstandings. But she had the "good example" of Mary, remarked Cardinal Semeraro, she also imitated her in charity towards the poor, who "were at the center of her existence and also for them to be evangelized, she founded a religious family. She reserved a special love for the poorest children, "whom she considered the favorites of the Lord". "Convinced that from them is the Kingdom of Heaven", concluded the prefect, affirming that the Kingdom of God "begins here below with small things".
Edited from Vatican News