While a student at New World Magischola (or NWM), Santa Maria distinguished herself as a powerful healer in the curanderismo tradition and, like Flower Mountain co-founder Don Pedro Jaramillo, was gifted with clairvoyance and the extraordinary power of remote healing. She became embroiled in a scandal in the 1980s while a student at NWM as she was found to be using her clairvoyant healing techniques to relieve the suffering of AIDS patients throughout North America.
Santa Maria was accused of unauthorized intervention in the mundane world and put on trial in Solaris Province where NWM is located. Unapologetic for what she argued was not improper use of magic, Santa Maria was nevertheless convicted by the Justices of Solaris of violating the Edict of Mundane Separation and Secrecy. Despite advocacy by then-Chancellor Othello Grier, Santa Maria was expelled from NWM, thereby making it impossible for her to achieve the official credential of Wizard or to legally practice as a Healer in the Magimundi. People in the Baja Province viewed this situation as an affront to their provincial authority, arguing that Santa Maria should have been tried in her home province. She is seen as a kind of folk hero for both her compassion for the suffering of others and for her willingness to stand up for her beliefs. Partly to recognize her prowess as a curandera and partly to thumb their noses at Solaris, Baja Province officials unanimously appointed her Principal of their primaschola and cited provincial authority to quell the objections of outsiders who felt convicted felons should not be eligible for government posts.