Supporters of the newly opened sainthood cause for Sister Blandina Segale, a Sister of Charity who ministered on the frontier, pose for a photo June 25, 2014 following a news conference in Albuquerque, N.M.: Sisters Victoria Marie Forde and Celestia Koebel, both Sisters of Charity; Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M.; Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M.; Sister Monica Luca, SC; Victor Limary, Vice Chair, CHI St. Joseph's Children; and Allen Sánchez, President & CEO, CHI St. Joseph's Children.




  • Beginnings

    The Servant of God, Maria Rosa Segale (Sr. Blandina Segale) was born January 23, 1850 in Cicagna, Italy.  Her family migrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. when she was four years old.  Her first word as a child was Gesu (Jesus).

  • Ministries & Heroic Virtues

    On September 13, 1866 the Servant of God entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She was sent to work in the newly acquired territories of the western United States in 1872. Arriving first in Trinidad, Colorado, Sr. Blandina taught the poor Hispanic children. In 1877 she was transferred to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she cofounded the public and catholic schools. Her work included starting hospitals in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her work in these territories is well documented in the publication of letters to her sister, also a Sister of Charity, called “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail”.

  • More Heroic Virtues

    Other heroic virtues include her tireless work of teaching and healing the immigrant, the marginalized, and the poor, and advocating for women and children. She challenged the occupying government and military in fair treatment of the Native Americans. She came to the aid of mistreated railroad workers, finding time to care for the sick while building orphanages, hospitals, schools, and trade schools.

  • "Fastest Nun in the West"

    Her compassion converted hundreds and Sr. Blandina even had numerous encounters with the famous “Billy the Kid” and his band of outlaws. She calmed mobs of armed men from taking the law into their own hands and helped criminals seek forgiveness from their victims, even saving a man from a hanging party by facilitating reconciliation between him and the man he shot before dying. In 1966 this story of bravery was told in a CBS series Death Valley Days episode “The Fastest Nun in the West” where she faced down the barrels of guns to find justice. One account is her prevention of Hispanic and Native American’s loss of homes and land to swindlers; another is saving a lost horse drawn wagon of passengers during a winter blizzard and reaching safety in blackout conditions.

    In 1966 her story of bravery was told in a CBS series Death Valley Days episode “The Fastest Nun in the West” where she faced down the barrels of guns to find justice.

  • Santa Maria Institute in Cincinnati

    In 1897 she founded the Santa Maria Institute in Cincinnati, serving immigrants. She lead the organization until 1933. The institute is still in operation today, serving the poor and marginalized.

  • CHI St. Joseph's Community Health

    In 1900 Sr. Blandina returned to Albuquerque for two years to help start the St. Joseph Hospital whose mission continues today as CHI St. Joseph’s Children, also known as St. Joseph Community Health.

    Her ministries continue today, over 100 years later, and thousands of poor children receive early childhood service by her continuing ministry. Many of the adobe structures Sr. Blandina built still stand today as monuments to her courage, compassion, and healing nature. For example, the convent that bears her name in Old Albuquerque. Her life’s work is well documented in the archives of the Sisters of Charity Mother House in Cincinnati.



  • A Saint for all Times

    Sr. Blandina was one of the petitioners of the Cause of St. Elizabeth Seton and at 81 years old she traveled to Italy to meet with Pope Pius to plead St. Elizabeth’s Cause. The Servant of God died on February 23, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity at the age of 91. Her last words were Gesu e Madre.



Postulator for the Cause

Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez

Bishop Emeritus

Diocese of Las Cruces

Judge for the Cause

Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan

Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Fe

Petitioner for the Cause

Mr. Allen Sánchez

President & CEO

CHI St. Joseph's Children

Leadership of the

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sisters Lois Jean Goettke, councilor, Louise Lears, councilor, Mary Bookser, councilor, Joan Elizabeth Cook, president, and Christine Marie Rody, councilor




Sister Blandina Segale, SC

Whereas: The People of God of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and beyond have expressed their affection and devotion of Maria Rosa Segale, also known as Sister Blandina Segale, 73 years after her death. The People of God have requested of the Archbishop of Santa Fe, to open the Cause of Beautification and Canonization of Sister Blandina Segale. The Pontifical Congregation for the Cause of Saints has granted the Archbishop of Santa Fe permission to open the Cause of Beautification and Canonization. Therefore: I, Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe declare open a canonical inquiry of the holiness and heroic virtues of the Servant of God, Sister Blandina. A Cause for Beautification and Canonization is now open. Summon: I summon all persons with knowledge and or evidence of this Servant of God to make known their knowledge and evidence. Appoint: I hereby appoint Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop of Las Cruces Emeritus, as Postulator of the Cause. I accept CHI St. Joseph’s Children as Petitioner of the Cause. Let it be known that Sr. Blandina shall now bear the title “The Servant of God.”

Contact Info


Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez

Bishop Emeritus

Diocese of Las Cruces

c/o Petitioner

Allen Sánchez



Sister Blandina  Segale Photo

Courtesy of Palace of the

Governors - Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Negative #67735