During our evening prayers each night my husband and I have been studying the lives of women saints. We use a resource that tells the story of a female saint for every day of the year (Women Saints: 365 Daily Readings, by Madonna Sophia Compton). This book includes the lives of famous and not so famous women in history who have made a difference in this world.
Recently we read about Maria Solares, who was born in 1842 in southern California. Both of her parents were Native Americans from different tribes. She was raised in a Catholic mission school but always cherished the language and culture of her people.
Maria assisted an anthropologist, John P. Harrington, in recording much of the language and customs of the Samala Chumash people. She was able to get training in the field of medicine, and she spent her life working tirelessly for her people, who were pushed off of their land and suffered from great poverty.
When she died in 1923 she was remembered as “Maria of the Refugees.” Thanks to the early language work she did with Dr. Harrington and other scholars, the language of the Chumash people is being taught once again to the descendants of this tribe. Maria’s legacy lives on linguistically and her language of love will endure forever.
I celebrate this un-sung hero during Women’s History Month. What women of history do you celebrate, especially during this month of tribute?