Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The highest praise?

In the ecstasy of January 28, 1945 there is a praise from Jesus to Blessed Alexandrina. While it is common Jesus to praise her, the terms - poetic, as always - with which this time He does it are no longer so common. Will be this the highest praise He gave her?
Attention too to the wide promises contained in Jesus’ words.

Then Jesus came, so full of tenderness and love for me:
- My daughter, divine tabernacle, tabernacle where I live, prison of sweetness and love! I have bound My Heart to yours, tied them together in bonds of the holiest love; they captured me, your charming bonds captured me, bright bonds, bonds of pure and fine gold.
My spouse, my spouse, nothing can separate us, nothing can sever the matrimonial ties that bind us.
O my beautiful dove, my queen, my palace! Queen of the Heavenly King, palace of His dwelling!
My daughter, life of love, tongue of praise, angelic purity! Through you the world will be cleansed; through your tongue the world shall praise me, by your seraphic love, the world will love me.
O dove, O beautiful one, O divine garden: you are the garden, I the gardener! You are a garden of virtues, of charms, you have enchanted my heart. You are and will always be the charmer of sinners.
- Yes, yes, my Jesus, I want it – to enchant them for you, no matter what, my love. I beg the great favor of shutting them all in Your Divine Heart; I do not want any soul to perish, no, I do not want that, my Jesus.
I do not deny You suffering, do not deny me souls.
- Sweet daughter, my darling, heroine of the world, unparalleled heroine, equally unique is your pain, your love! You are rich, you are powerful.
In you I prepared a strong arsenal with weapons of war; not weapons or destructive fire but an armoury of the most heroic virtues, of the most angelic purity, of the love of the Cherubim and the Seraphim.
In you I stored what nations stockpile to fight wars. The weapons I placed in you are not only to combat Portugal, but the whole world. You will fight, my daughter, and you will win.
Your role in heaven and on the earth will always be identified with the divine armament I keep in you; and you, o white dove, O angelic dove, you gathered it in yourself, embraced it in suffering, hugged it in love.
You, my beloved spouse, are a new gospel, just as you are the new redeemer!
New gospel, in which is written, recorded and preserved the life of Christ crucified. A life of pain, a life of love, a life of madness for souls, a life of charity, a life of the science and doctrines of Christ the Redeemer.
I identified you with Myself, portrayed you in Me, O dear victim, O innocent savior of this happy Calvary! Save souls for me, put them under the mantle which was given to you by my blessed Mother.
Courage, daughter! As much as I love you, that much I identified you with Myself. And because I identified you with Me, like me you are slandered, persecuted and despised. Fear not! Days of brilliant sunshine are approaching, a sun which will never be darkened, light that will never fade!
The cause is mine, victory is certain. This my cause will be destroyed when my church, my doctrine is destroyed for all time. (i.e. never.)
Rest, my little daughter, rest in my divine arms. Do you suffer a lot? Do you suffer the utmost? It is my divine love. Rejoice, many souls are saved. Take comfort in my Divine Heart.
I felt I was in the arms of Jesus, and that by Him I was much caressed. I felt the tenderness of His Divine Heart and His compassion for my sufferings. He had me in His divine arms for a few hours. It reminded me of a mother who doesn’t abandon her baby when it is dying. I suffered a lot, to be sure, but I was comforted by the gifts of Jesus and His tender caresses.
It humbles me, it terrifies me, so much kindness of Jesus.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Decree of the Heroic Virtues of the Servant of God Alexandrina Maria da Costa

"You are, together, members of Christ's body” (1 Cor. 12.27)

Alexandrina Maria da Costa was one of these living members of Christ who had received from the Lord the vocation to participate in the sufferings of the Lord Jesus who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2.8). United to her divine spouse, she followed him with love and with a particular devotion to the Way of the Cross for the conversion of sinners, and by fulfilling the mission of "loving, suffering, dying" which had been confided to her by heaven.
The servant of God was the second daughter of Ana Maria da Costa. She was born 30th March 1904 in Gresufes, Balasar, in the Archdiocese of Braga, Portugal and was baptized on 2nd April. Her mother, abandoned by her 'husband' a short time before marriage, supported her family with dignity and educated her daughters with fortitude and diligence according to the laws of God  and the Church, giving them admirable examples of prayer and the practice of charity, above all for the sick.
From her youth, Alexandrina suffered the extremes of poverty when the family lost all its goods and, due to family exigencies, contracted a large debt. For a short time she attended the primary school in the town of Povoa de Varzim where, with great happiness, she made her first Holy Communion. Returning to her birth place, she worked in the fields and learnt sewing. She enjoyed the best of health and was a happy, playful, lively, affable character. She dedicated herself to prayer with assiduity, studied the catechism, took part in the parish activities and committed herself to the correction of her faults. She often helped the sick and the dying.
On the Holy Saturday of 1918, to defend her virginity against some men who forced their way into her home, she jumped from a window, only to begin a road of anguish and suffering. At first the doctors could not arrive at a diagnosis but later they came to the conclusion that she had suffered an injury to her nervous system. All the treatments were useless and her sufferings became greater day by day, so that, by the year 1925, she was bedridden. The paralysis of her limbs gradually worsened, and her muscles atrophied to the point that they were incapable of movement. In the first years of the illness, as is natural, she begged heaven for a cure but she was granted the grace to accept the will of God and even to suffer more. In this way her bed became an altar of sacrifice, her body a temple in which God worked marvels, and her soul an ardent song of love. She began to feel a great sorrow for "Jesus, the prisoner of the Tabernacle", at the same time she perceived more clearly her vocation of 'victim'. Instructed by Christ himself, and guided by Him in the Wisdom of the Cross, she offered herself as a victim of expiation, accepting crucifixion and participating in the Redemption with of her sufferings, which were many, atrocious and continual.
She experienced in her body and her soul the sufferings of the Passion of Christ and molestions by the devil, to which were joined temptations, periods of aridity and darkness of soul, doubts against the faith and mystical death. She was terribly upset that she could not go to church, nor receive Holy Communion frequently and that her marvelous experiences were gossiped about. She suffered equally from the visits of so many people, the banishment of her first spiritual director, the clerical enquiries and the medical inquisitions with their repressive recommendations when they did not believe in her sincerity and honesty. God favored her with ecstasies, visions, knowledge of future happenings and scrutiny of hearts. In the last 13 years of her life, she took no food other than the Eucharist.
Despite her illness she exercised a great and fruitful apostolate, receiving with great courtesy many visitors to whom she spoke words of faith and consolation, exhorting them to receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, often obtaining the conversion of sinners. She taught the catechism, over a long period, to children and was a zealous member of the Pious Union of the Apostolate of Prayer, promoting books of the faith and the missions and encouraging vocations both sacerdotal and religious. She was a Child of Mary and an Associate of the Salesian Workers.
With the offerings which she received from benefactors, she helped divine services, the missions, the preaching of the Word of God, help for her parish, seminarians, youth causes, the poor and the unemployed. Religious festivals and attendance at Masses also occupied her, as did the construction of homes for the deprived. In 1936 she wrote to the Holy Father about the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Pope Pius XII performed on 31st October 1942.
Forgetful of self, she lived only for God and for her neighbor and, between the thorns of suffering, she cultivated many beautiful perfumed Christian virtues. Faith was a light for her thoughts, her affections, her words and her actions. She held total belief In Jesus Christ, in the Gospels, in the revealed truths and the teachings of the Church. The Commandments of God she fulfilled perfectly, she promptly obeyed the will of God and was a docile instrument in his hands for the fulfillment of the mission which he had given to her for the good of humanity. Raised up by the contemplation of the great mysteries of the faith, by prayer, nourished by a special devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Eucharist, to Our Lady and identifying with Christ nailed to the Cross, she was able to say "It is not I who suffer, it is Christ who suffers in me" (follows 2 quotes Galatians 2 20 and Colossians 1 24).
Her heart burnt with love for God, the Church and for souls. She wrote: 
I love Jesus in the darkness, I love him in the humiliations, in the sufferings, in the heartaches, I love Him in the surges of happiness, trying to do His will in all things. 
At the same time she affirmed her willingness to suffer to the end of the world for the salvation of sinners. These are the words engraved on her tomb stone, summing up her apostolate:
Neither did her love for her mother and her sister Deolinda, who looked after her tenderly, grow less, nor her love for the poor, the sick, or the souls in Purgatory. Anyone who caused any hurt, received immediately her forgiveness and her benevolence. Sincerely humble, she held herself as nothing in the sight of God and unworthy of any reputation in the sight of man; she avoided praise and rejoiced when despised. The things of this world were as nothing, she happily embraced self-denial and poverty, placing her hopes in God and His providence; she looked continuously to eternity as the prize which she strove to reach, not by her merits but rather through Christ. She kept herself free and pure of any wrong-doing and observed perfectly the law of chastity even in the slightest temptations. In all these circumstances she acted and spoke with a supernatural prudence. She was just before God and also before her neighbor. She was strong in her obedience to her ecclesiastical superiors, in the sufferings of body and soul and in fidelity to her duties and daily fulfilling the will of God.
Again, when death was near, when her sufferings were at their most intense, she persevered with strength and generosity at the summing-up of herself and her life. With serenity of soul she entered eternity murmuring:
I am happy because I go to heaven. 
Comforted with the Sacraments, her sad road completed and with her lamp alight, she went to God on October 13th 1955.
The people who held her to be a saint affirmed "The mother of the poor has died, a helper in necessities; she was the consoler of the afflicted". An enormous crowd paid their respects to her body laid out in the casket and were present at her burial. In 1978 her remains were translated to the parish Church of Balasar, where it rests today, venerated by the faithful who recommend themselves to her intercession.
Recognizing the size and the consistency of the fame of sanctity which the servant of God had shown in her life, her death and after her death, the Archbishop of Braga set in train the CAUSE for beatification and canonization during 1967 to 1973, the authority of which was recognized by the Congregation for the Cause of Saints by decree dated 16th November 1990. The Archbishop of Cagliari is the Proponent. The Holy Father has ordered that:
The Servant of God Alexandrina Maria da Costa, lay virgin, member of the Association of the Coworkers of St. John Bosco, practiced the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity towards God and her neighbor, together with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude to a heroic degree.
This is to be published and reference made in the Acts of the Congregation of the Cause for Saints, given in Rome 12th January 1996.

+Alberto Bovone
Archbishop of Cesareia of Numidia. Pro-Prefect.
+Eduardo Nowak
Archbishop of Luna. Secretary.
Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 13th May 1996.  Page 504. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tell them to love me

I want, dearest daughter, that you speak of the cross, of the love of suffering – in that salvation comes through this – and of the Eucharist, which is the sign of my infinite love and the food of the souls.
Tell them to love me and to live united to me in all their labors. And when alone in their rooms, whether at night or during the day, that they fall (spiritually) on their knees and with inclined heads repeat many times:
Jesus, I adore you in all the places where you dwell sacramentally.I will keep you company, to make up for all those who despise you.I will love you, for those who don’t love you.I will make satisfaction for all those who offend you.Jesus, come to dwell in my heart.
These moments will be for me occasions of great joy and consolation.
How many crimes they commit against me in the Eucharist!
Sentiments of the Soul, 2-10-48

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Miracle of Alexandrina

By Francis Johnston

Without anticipating the final judgment of the Church, there seems a distinct possibility that the name of Alexandrina da Costa, who died as recently as 1955, may one day blaze among the brightest stars in the celestial firmament. Her extraordinary life as a victim soul, punctuated by incredible flashes of the supernatural, prove that the prodigies manifested by the great mystical saints of history still survive, even in this skeptical, self-sufficient age of nuclear energy and space flight.
Such is the repute of her sanctity that in the early 1970's, her cause for beatification had advanced beyond that of the revered Padre Pio and the ecclesiastical authorities had taken the unprece­dented step of erecting a chapel over her tomb. "The finger of God is here," averred Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, acknowledging the storm of miracles reported from her shrine at Balasar, in northern Portugal. Thousands from all over the world flock there every year, imploring the intercession of this outstandingly holy woman whose life reminds one of St. Catherine of Siena.

Alexandrina was born on March 4, 1904 of devout, hard-working peasants in the obscure Portuguese village of Balasar, some 40 miles north of Oporto. As a child, she was gay, attractive and full of lively wit and humor, though without compromising an almost precocious spirituality which few suspected, judging from her spontaneous joviality. By the time of her first Communion when she was seven, she had already acquired a deep love of the Blessed Sacrament, visiting the village church with unusual frequency and making Spiritual Communions whenever she was unable to attend daily Mass. When an aunt suffering from cancer begged Alexandrina to pray for her, the child responded with such persever­ance that the habit of prayer became entrenched in her young soul.
After only eighteen months at school, Alexandrina was sent to work on a farm at the age of twelve. Though a strong, capable child, the heavy manual labor, shot through with incessant bad language, proved too much and five months later, she was brought home. She became a daily communicant, but shortly after fell dangerously ill with typhoid. When the end seemed near, she was given a crucifix to kiss, but she shook her head, insisting that she wanted nothing but the Eucharist. She finally recovered, but after a spell in a sanatorium at Povoa, was pronounced unfit for physical work again. She finally settled down as a seamstress in Balasar, joined by her sister Deolinda. She might have remained in this undramatic capacity, buried away in the wild and beautiful Portuguese coun­tryside, had not a fateful event occurred in 1918 which utterly transformed her life.

While she was busy sewing one day in a neighbor's house with Deolinda and another girl, three men approached and demanded admittance in suggestive language. Alexandrina recognized one of them as her former employer who had previously tried to assault her, and whom she had driven off with an unexplained force in her rosary-clenched fist. She quickly bolted the door. But the men broke their way in through a trap door in the roof and attacked the girls. Deolinda and her companion managed to escape, but Alexandrina was cornered in an upstairs room. "No! No!" she screamed, edging back to the wall. Like St. Maria Goretti, she would rather die than consent. Behind her was a window, thirteen feet above the ground. It was her only chance. Desperately she jumped.
The pain was shattering. Gritting her teeth, Alexandrina seized a stout piece of wood and crawled back to the house, lashing out fiercely at the startled men, who promptly fled. But her spine had been irreparably injured. Long years of increasing pain, incapacity and depression followed, though she never yielded to despair. Total paralysis set in and on April 24, 1924, she became bedridden for life. Her anguished family prayed desperately for a cure, but her condition remained critical: several times she hovered close to death and received the Last Sacraments.
Towards the end of the year, she was seized by an unaccountable desire to offer herself to God as a victim soul for the conversion of sinners. With St. Paul, she yearned to "make up in her own body what was lacking in the Passion of Christ." After praying earnestly for guidance, she felt inwardly certain that God was calling her to a life of love and reparation through suffering willingly offered up to Him on behalf of sinners.
Meanwhile, news had filtered into the village of Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima, some 200 miles to the south, and the numerous miraculous cures reported there. A local pilgrimage was organized and Alexandrina, wishing to be certain of God's will regarding her vocation of suffering, asked Our Lady to let her accompany them. But the doctor insisted that the journey would be suicidal, and the pilgrimage left without her.

After most of the village had gone, Alexandrina brokenly closed her eyes in prayer and offered to God the crushing sacrifice of her abandonment and isolation. As she prayed, her thoughts strayed longingly across to the Blessed Sacrament in the nearby church, and suddenly she realized that Our Lord in the tabernacle was also a prisoner. This touching link with Christ led her to visit Him in spirit, to remain constantly before Him, keeping watch with unceasing love, prayer and self-immolation, to console His Sacred Heart and obtain the conversion of sinners. With a surge of tearful love, she begged Our Lord to allow her to stand a surety for sinners before Divine Justice to suffer to the limit of her endurance if thereby sinners could escape the fire of Hell.
Seemingly in response to this remarkably coura­geous request, her pain steadily intensified until it became almost unendurable. Night after feverish night, she would lie awake gasping and struggling to pray, her head soaking the pillow, her fingers clenching her rosary with tight desperation as if squeezing relief from the clamped beads. "O Jesus”, she would pant, repeating the prayer taught by Our Lady at Fatima, "this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in repara­tion for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
Finally in 1934, Alexandrina reported hearing for the first time, through the red haze of her agony, the compassionate voice of Christ, overflowing with love and tenderness.
Give me your hands, because I want to nail them with mine.
Give me your head, because I want to crown it with thorns, as they did to me.
Give me your heart, because I want to pierce it with a lance, as they pierced mine.
Consecrate your body to me; offer yourself wholly to me.
Alexandrina bravely accepted. She begged Our Lord to give her strength and patience to endure whatever further suffering He might have in store for her. From then on, she began to manifest extraordinary signs of mystical, besides physical agony, culminating in a series of unprecedented ecstasies of the Passion of Christ which she underwent for three hours every Friday from October 3, 1938 to March 27, 1942. Awed witnesses would see her recover the use of her paralyzed limbs and, leaving her bed, undergo the agonizing motions of Gethsemane to Calvary. While she staggered under the crushing weight of the invisible Cross, several strong men tried in vain to lift her, though her weight was only seventy pounds.
The ecstasies were filmed and the pictures form an important part of the deposition of her cause in Rome. Her spiritual director, Fr. Mariano Pinho, S. J., felt it prudent to keep the ecstasies secret, but word of them leaked out and by 1941, thousands were flocking to see the "Victim of Balasar," as she became known throughout Portugal.

Alexandrina's life continued in a fiery world of pain. Every breath was a struggle and the long dragging hours, especially at night, were like an interminable torture session. Nor did Our Lord abandon her when the relentless agony threat­ened to-overwhelm His victim. At such times, she would be consoled by radiant ecstasies in which the Suffering Christ filled her with profound mystical illumination. The mission entrusted to her corresponded with the message of Our Lady of Fatima. To the thousands who flocked to seek her counsel, she repeatedly urged frequent Commun­ion and the devout, daily recitation of the Rosary as the cure for the world's ills. Penance was her insistent refrain and she never tired of urging consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Beside her bed hung a beautiful picture of Our Lady of Fatima and another of Jacinta Marto (one of the three children who saw Our Lady at Fatima in 1917). Alexandrina would draw attention to these two pictures and beg her listeners to heed Our Lady's message and the heroic example of little Jacinta.
As for sin, Alexandrina would plead in a heartbreaking voice for its permanent renounce­ment. To offend God, she stressed, was the supreme evil in life and the most resolute personal efforts must be made towards its total elimination, cost what it might in prayer and sacrifice. "Oh, sinners," she would weep, "I am enduring a life of terrible suffering on your behalf. Convert yourselves! Sin no more! Sin no more!" Great numbers complied, as evidenced by the long queues at the confessional in the village church. According to Alexandrina, Our Lord told her, "Your house has become the Calvary of sinners."
In response to a command that she reportedly received from Our Lord in 1939, Alexandrina wrote to Pope Pius XII asking for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Holy Father had already heard of Alexandrina and a favorable report on her by the Archbishop of Braga further impressed His Holiness. After receiving a similar request from Sister Lucia, the last survivor of the three children who saw Our Lady at Fatima, Pope Pius XII undertook the con­secration in 1942.
Alexandrina's concern for sinners was manifested in a special way towards youth, and she joined the Third Order of the Salesian Congregation (known as Salesian Co-operators) to further her efforts to help teenagers combat sin. According to Alexandrina, Our Lord told her in 1938:
My daughter, I chose you from your mother’s womb...
I watch over you in your great difficulties.
It was I who chose them for you, that I might have a victim to offer me much reparation.
Lean on my Sacred Heart and find therein strength to suffer everything.
Lean on my Sacred Heart and find therein strength to suffer everything...
Keep me company in the Blessed Sacrament...
I remain in the tabernacle night and day, waiting to give my love and grace to all who will visit me. But so few come...
I am so abandoned, so lonely, so offended...

The patent success of Alexandrina's life of expiation for sin provoked a violent response from the powers of darkness, reminiscent of the assaults sustained by the Cure of Ars a century earlier. In the presence of Fr. Pinho and numerous witnesses, she was repeatedly hurled from her bed and flung against the wall by unseen hands. At night, she was assailed by hideous visions and howling, blasphemous taunts that God had abandoned her, that suicide was the imperative alternative to a life of agonizing futility. Shaken witnesses occasionally saw Alexandrina's bed wreathed in black, billowing smoke from which issued an insufferable stench. Fr. Pinho himself was sometimes attacked. When, in the Name of God, he demanded the identity of his invisible assailant, everyone in the hushed room heard the fearful reply: "I am Satan. Do not doubt it is I." The devil cursed the priest and threatened to tear him to pieces.
One morning after Mass in her room, Alexandrina suddenly felt she could endure no more. Tearfully, she begged Our Lord to intervene and end the attacks. Gently and compassionately, Alexandrina said, He explained how He wanted this further suffering of hers to help more sinners. Finally, in 1944, after ten years of unremitting savagery, the devil abandoned her; but by then, Alexandrina was suffering fresh torments, having offered herself as a victim for peace in World War II. Her condition grew so grave that she was given the Last Sacraments. Once again she rallied, but her agonizing pain continued to rack her night and day, bringing tears of compassion to the eyes of endless files of pilgrims who came from all over the Iberian Peninsula, pleading for her prayers and favors.

There now began a marvel which illumined Alexandrina's poignant life with a white glow of the sublime. For the last 13 1/2 years of her lite, she ate and drank nothing but the Eucharist, which she received with moving devotion every morning. News of this fresh wonder spread far and wide and eventually reached the ears of Rome. The Holy See requested the Archbishop of Braga to investi­gate the reported prodigy and Alexandrina was invited to enter a hospital in Oporto. For forty days and nights, she was watched round the clock by an impartial team of doctors and nurses (many of whom were skeptical or even hostile to her), to insure that no food or water reached her. At the end of this period, her health and weight remained unchanged and the stunned physicians were compelled to certify the prodigy as "scien­tifically inexplicable". Alexandrina disclosed that Our Lord had told her:
You are living only by the Eucharist because I want the world to know the power of the Eucharist and the power of my life in souls."
She reputedly underwent a mystical sojourn in Purgatory, experienced several mystical deaths, transports of the Resurrection and the Ascension, and sublime mystical union with the Most Holy Trinity. Like several of the greatest saints, her heart was exchanged with Our Lord's Sacred Heart and she underwent a mystical matrimony with Him. She received a piercing gift of prophecy, foretelling many events which subse­quently happened. Frequently while in ecstasy, she was heard praying and lamenting for the Church, which she saw in danger of a great crisis and threatened by a "wild beast." In a searing vision in 1948, according to Alexandrina, Our Lord showed her a vast expanse of ruins with lost souls lying dead in the debris. Snakes, repre­senting sin, were sliding over them. Alexandrina reported she was told:
The chastisement will be as never before. The destruction you have seen will come when Marxism has taken over the entire world.
It is perhaps significant that only "lost" souls were seen lying dead in the devastation engendering the fervent hope that a singular protection will be accorded to the just when and if divine punishment overwhelms a sin-drenched world. Certainly a number of saints have indicated this in their prophetic utterances, underlining the words of Scripture:
I will not destroy the just with the wicked.
Alexandrina further revealed that Our Lord had pleaded for more victim souls in the present permissive age, to turn the scales of Divine Just­ice. She herself admitted that she felt as if she was carrying a mountainous burden almost alone. Occasionally, she would cry out in anguish that she was literally "poisoned" by humanity's sins. The word "sinners" in the Ave made her shudder involuntarily.
Shortly before her death, Alexandrina reported that Our Lord appeared to her in all His radiant glory and disclosed that "many thousands" had been saved by her terrible sufferings. "After your death” He added "I will make your name widely known. I shall see to it myself... If anyone should invoke your name when you are in Heaven, they will never do so in vain... I appoint you a protectress of mankind. You will be powerful with the All-Powerful."

In 1955 Alexandrina's condition suddenly deteriorated. Through the long hot summer, her condition steadily worsened and on the morning of October 13th, the 38th anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima, it was clear that the end had arrived. Her unremitting agony racked her to the very end, but she withstood the quivering pain with dogged, prayerful serenity. Pressing the cru­cifix to her ashen lips, she murmured with indomi­table steadiness: "Do not weep for me. I am so happy today... I am going to Heaven at last." To the priests, pilgrims and journalists crowding the hushed stillness of her room, she gave a last piercing message to all mankind in this perilous nuclear age:
Do not sin. The pleasures of this life are worth nothing.
Receive Communion; pray the Rosary every day.
This sums up everything.
Finally, at 8:29 that evening, after a last embrace of her crucifix, she expired peacefully.
Twelve years later, the process for her beatifi­cation was solemnly opened by the Archbishop of Braga, and in 1973 it was successfully completed and forwarded to Rome. Meanwhile, the Church authorities had erected a chapel over her tomb and throngs of pilgrims from all over the world have since flocked there and visited her nearby room - "that altar of great sacrifice," – as Cardi­nal Cerejeira termed it. Of the dramatic cures reported there, Fr. L. S. Mascarenhas, a local Blue Army priest, exclaimed: "She is doing wonders... wonders. It is almost as if anything asked through her intercession cannot be refused by Jesus." Cardinal Cerejeira disclosed that he had received "two incredible graces" (one con­cerning the foundation of a Catholic University in Lisbon against all odds), after praying in Alexan­drina's room.
Shortly before she died, Alexandrina dictated her epitaph, underscoring the yearning that animated her tormented body. The moving words have been engraved on a white marble slab covering her tomb and they echo the final plea of Our Lady of Fatima on October 13, 1917:
Do not offend God any more, for He is already too greatly offended.


Sinners, if the ashes of my body could be useful to save you, approach ...
If necessary, pass on the ashes, trample on them – but do not sin any more.
Never again offend our dear Lord...
Convert yourselves.
Do not lose Jesus for all eternity.
He is so good.

Published by
Washington. N. J. 07882
With Ecclesiastical Permission
First printing May 1978