Since 1965, Sor Maria Rosa Leggol has been an influential religious and civic leader who has initiated and developed numerous programs to improve the quality of life for more than 40,000 children throughout Honduras and Central America. She has also aided thousands of victims of environmental and economic disasters through relief efforts and humanitarian brigades.
Known affectionately by the citizens of Honduras as Sor Maria Rosa, she is referred to as the “Mother Theresa” of Central America. Citizens might not know the name of the cardinal, but they always seem to know the name Sor Maria Rosa. She has been named as one of the most influential women in Honduras, had a postage stamp created in her honor, and has been awarded the “Gold Leaf Award” , an honor usually reserved for men who have been distinguished leaders in Honduras, and was the first woman to do so.
Sister Maria Rosa became an orphan at a very early age and lived with her Godparents. Determined to become a part of the religious community, in 1939 she went to live at the Hospice “Saint Francis of Assisi” in Comayagua, where, a few years later she would officially join the Religious Community.
From 1945 to 1948 Sister Maria Rosa worked as a nurse in a hospital called “La Policlinica”, in Tegucigalpa. On June 13th, 1949 she made her first religious vows in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and took the religious habit of a Franciscan Sister.
Because she herself was an orphan, Sor Maria Rosa witnessed firsthand the lack of loving care and individual personal attention given to children who had lost their parents. From her own experience she was inspired at a very early age to create a more loving environment and better living conditions for the children of her home country. The first children raised under her care were children whose mothers were in prison.
Now, 92 years old, Sor Maria Rosa has touched the lives of thousands. Hundreds of thousands. She touches the lives of each person she comes in contact with. Her motivation and her vision brings thousands of volunteers a year to work with her children. She continues to give 100% to every child she encounters. And it is her love, compassion, and vision that drives the Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund.