Maria Borroso Soares' Visit to St. Anthony's Church [1994]

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Maria Borroso Soares' Visit to St. Anthony's Church [1994]




In May 1994, Maria Barroso Soares, wife of Portugal's president Mario Soares (1986-1996, Socialist Party), visited the United States and stopped in Lowell, MA. She attended a church service at St. Anthony's Church on Pentecost Sunday, also known as the Feast of the Holy Ghost. St. Anthony's Church is the primary parish for the Portuguese community in Lowell.

Maria Soares was on a short tour in the United States at this time. She spoke at the Conference on Portuguese Women in the United States at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA. The conference was put on by the Portuguese American Women Association. She also received a honorary degree from Lesley College in Boston, MA.

Biographical Note
Maria de Jesus Simões Barroso Soares, an actress and politician, was born on May 2, 1925 in Olhão, Portugal. She performed in the Portuguese National Theatre Company while at University but was removed from the Theatre due to her political positions as a member of the Democratic Opposition Party. This party opposed the regime of Antonio Salazar. She was forbidden from teaching during Salazar's regime, despite being qualified to teach.

In 1949, she married her university colleague Mario Soares. At the time, Mario was imprisoned at Aljube prison in Lisbon for opposing the regime and being a member of the Central Committee of the Movement of Democratic Unity.

In March 1968, Mario was arrested again by the Portuguese International and State Defense Police (PIDE). A military tribunal banished him to the colony of São Tomé and Príncipe. Maria and his children accompanied him, although they were able to return back to Portugal 6 months later when Marcello Caetano succeeded Salazar as dictator. Caetano wanted to create a more democratic image for his reign and released many political prisoners. Although the Soares family was released, they were exiled to France.

After the Carnation Revolution in April 1974 ousted Caetano, the Soares family returned to Portugal and Mario worked as the minister for overseas negotiations for the provisional government. After the 1976 legislative election, he became Prime Minister as part of the Socialist Party. Finally, he became President of Portugal in 1986, making Maria Barroso Soares the First Lady. They served until March 1996.

It is important to note that Maria was politically active in her own right. She was a founding member of the Socialist Party in Bad Münstereifel, Germany in 1973. She also served as the President of the Aristides Sousa Mendes Foundation, the Pro Dignitate Association, and the head of the Portuguese Red Cross.

Maria Borroso Soares died on July 7, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal.


Processions, Religious--Catholic Church
Fasts and Feasts
Portuguese American women


Lowell (Mass.)


Digital scans donated from St. Anthony's Church in Lowell, MA. Items are held in the Church's archives.
Digital scans donated by the Holy Ghost Society, Lowell, MA.


UMass Lowell, Center for Lowell History


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