She was born to Lin Chen Yu (From Xian, China) and Gregorio Sevillia Latesia Santiago (from Pangasinan, Philippines) in Manila, Philippines. Her parents were wealthy Landlords who owned numerous hectares of farm land for the production of sugarcane and rice. However, the outbreak of World War II caused them to lose all the family production and force them to begin anew. The war caused her to stop her schooling but resume after the war.
Martial Law was declared in 1972. By this time, Maria had become a writer for a local news paper, She was a known critic of the martial law government and was subsequently arrested. She was later released under unknown circumstances and lived a simple life in Manila, working as a banker in a local bank.
Maria met her spouse, Jose Benigno Francisco III, in the news paper company. Unfortunately, Her incarceration would cause them to delay their marriage until her release in 1978. They were happily married on Nov. 21, 1981 in the Manila Cathedral. They settled in the Suburbs of Manila and lived out their lives there as a family
They gave birth to their first son, Chito, on June 15. As a child he found favour in their eyes while excelling in his studies. They aspired for him to grow up as a lawyer or a banker. However, contrary to their wishes, he aspired to enter the Vocation of Preisthood. They however kept him from such vocation however, he ran away
Devastated by her son’s choice, they searched for him tirelessly, 2 years after the incident, they found him in the Seminary of St. John Marie Vianey. Reluctantly, they gave in to his wish and let him live there peacefuly. They attended his Priestly Ordination in Manila and saw him off to teach in Rome.
2 years after Her Son had flown to Rome, she was diagnosed with a heart condition. She Passed away due to a Heart attack on the evening of Sep. 15, 1995. Many have speculated that her death was brought about by the heart break of loosing her son to the vocation of Priesthood. Chito would not discover His Mother’s death until the time He’d return from Rome.