María Luisa Godeau Leal
Augustinian Servant of God
María Luisa Godeau Leal (1874-1956), founder of the Augustinians of Our Lady of Help, was known as a loving “mother” of children, a “Good Samaritan” to the sick, and a dedicated catechist.
Born in Mexico City in 1974, María Luisa was the only child of a French father and a Mexican mother.
She taught elementary school for 28 years. As a teacher, she was dedicated to giving her students a complete formation, both human and Christian.
After leaving the teaching profession, she spent another 20 years caring for the elderly and the sick. In their suffering she always saw the face of the suffering Christ and considered her mission to be like that of the Good Samaritan of the Gospel.
In order to continue the needed work of making Christ present to children, to the sick and to the elderly, she gathered a group of six like-minded women to be the first members of a new congregation of religious sisters, the Augustinians of Our Lady of Help.
The six women pronounced their vows as Augustinians on April 25, 1943. María Luisa, who was 68 years old at the time, became the first Superior. She took the religious name María of the Eucharist and of the Holy Spirit.
The congregation grew in membership and in Augustinian spirituality, particularly in their living of community life and in their availability to serve the Church where most needed.
María Luisa continued as Superior until 1949, when age and health caused her to resign and hand over leadership to another.
She died on Good Friday, March 31, 1956. Her remains are preserved at the General House of the Augustinians of Our Lady of Help, Mexico City.
The formal request to initiate the processes of beatification and canonization María Luisa Godeau Leal was made April 9, 2005. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.