The Washington Post

Benedicta S. Monsen, advocate for lupus patients, dies

Benedicta S. Monsen

Benedicta S. Monsen, who was a founder and president of an advocacy organization dedicated to providing support for patients with lupus, died Feb. 15 at her home in Bethesda, Md. She was 92.

The cause was congestive heart failure, her daughter, Lauren Monsen O’Donoghue, said.

Mrs. Monsen, a multilingual native of Brazil, accompanied her husband, a Foreign Service officer, on diplomatic postings around the world from the 1950s to the early 1980s.

After her daughter Christine was diagnosed with lupus, Mrs. Monsen helped organize what is now the Washington area chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. She served from 1974 to 1977 as the nonprofit organization’s first president. For many years, she helped lead fundraising, advocacy and public awareness efforts on behalf of lupus patients and their families.

Benedicta Quirino dos Santos was born in Campinas, Brazil, and learned English while attending an American school in Brazil. She was also fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and her native Portuguese.

She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1940s before moving to Washington to work as a writer, translator and researcher.

Mrs. Monsen became a U.S. citizen in the 1950s and lived in Paris, New York and Brussels, among other locations, during her husband’s diplomatic career. She was often responsible for entertaining visiting dignitaries.

Her husband of 54 years, G. Richard Monsen, died in 2008. A daughter, Christine Monsen, died in 1996.

Survivors include a daughter, Lauren Monsen O’Donoghue of Bethesda.

— Matt Schudel

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