Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: People of God Series

Venerable María Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo


Servant of God María Rosario of the Visitation (1884-1957) was a Filipino nun and the founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines. She was born to an illustrious Filipino family: one brother became a senator, the other governor of the Filipino province of Iloilo. The Arroyo sons and daughter were taught the importance and virtue of giving of themselves at an early age. This virtuous sense of self-giving became part of who they were, especially María.

Though set up for an extraordinarily comfortable life, the young heiress left her fortune behind to become a Dominican Sister. Her compassion for others was genuine and intense. María was unspoiled by the quality and abundance of material things that were hers for the taking. She just wanted to share what she could with those less fortunate. She later founded the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary and donated her entire fortune to the new congregation.

During World War II, the Sisters’ convent was used as a headquarters by Japanese soldiers and repeatedly bombed by American forces, but the Sisters survived and now serve throughout the Philippines as well as in the United States, Kenya, Italy, and the Mariana Islands.

The Congregation continued to grow and, after 32 years in existence, the First General Chapter was convened. Meeting from January 3-6, 1953, Mother Rosario was elected the First Superior General of the Order. She served for three and a half years before heart failure caused her passing on June 14, 1957. 

Madre Sayong or Madre Maestra, as Arroyo was known,  is currently in consideration for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

Learn more about Venerable María Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo by clicking here.