Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church and our Holy Father. This "little work" is purely a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Speaking Presentation & Holy Relics Exhibit: St. Anthony of Padua Church, 10/30/2016


The 2016 Patron Saints Celebration & Relic Exhibit at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Kailua

With the Feast of All Saints being just two days away on November 1st, my parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church again enlisted my saints and relics ministry to assist in planning something special for a Family Sunday event to especially honor our spiritual heroes - the Saints. This is something that I particularly enjoy about this parish - the fact that it's very open and enthusiastic about promoting devotion to Our Lady, the Holy Rosary, and the Saints. So although I now live in Honolulu, I continue to come to this Kailua parish regularly and volunteer my services in the planning of devotional events for our parishioners.

Over 200 parishioners gathered in our parish hall to learn about various Saints
& Blesseds during our Patron Saints Celebration & Relic Exhibit.

So this year, we decided on another relic exhibit for today's religious education event. With the success of last year's exhibit, and the feast coming up, it was a no brainer; we had to do it again. But this year, I put a twist in the presentation we conducted prior to the exhibit - rather than going over the Sainthood Process that I normally cover, the majority of my talk was instead focused on simply telling short stories and showing slide images of how certain Saints/Blesseds became designated "Patron Saints" of certain vocations and/or situations. I wanted the people to learn the reasons behind the patronage of popular Saints such as our very own St. Anthony of Padua (Patron of Lost Items); St. Christopher (Patron of Travelers); St. Francis of Assisi (Patron of Animals/Nature Lovers); St. Gerard Majella (Patron of Expectant Mothers)... and 25 other Saints/Blesseds. It turned out to be a true celebration, indeed, of Patron Saints in Kailua!

Interest was high with 200+ parishioners - parents and their children - coming to listen to the 45 minute talk. Immediately after, the relic exhibit was opened to them, allowing everyone the opportunity to walk around three long display tables on which the sacred remains of the Saints/Blesseds I discussed were displayed for veneration. Many people stayed and small, square pieces of blessed fabric were freely handed out to interested parishioners so they could make their own personalized 3rd Class Relics by touching the cloth to the reliquaries of the Saints/Blesseds who impressed them the most.

              
Parishioners - young & old - of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua venerating
the holy remains of 29 Saints & Blesseds, plus a True Cross Relic, at three different
relic display stations during our Relic Exhibit.

Judging by the many positive feedback I received, the majority of the people who came had deemed the presentation edifying and/or highly interesting. What was particularly rewarding for me was to see many, many parents and children standing patiently in line with their pieces of fabric, while the kids did most of the asking as to where they could find certain relics to touch. It showed me just how much the kids actually pay close attention when you tell them amusing stories of the Saints.

One little girl, whom I recall clearly, asked me where she could find St. Peregrine because she wanted to touch her cloth to his relic then give it to an aunt who was suffering from cancer. How awesome is that? It's moments like these that make my sometimes-challenging, one-man ministry well-worth the effort that goes into putting on a big presentation like today's one.

       
Some of the Sacred Relics that were on public display during today's exhibit.
Among the 30 relics were those from St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Germaine Cousin,
St. Martin de Porres, St. Catherine of Bologna, & St. Rose of Lima.

With this year's Patron Saints Celebration & Relic Exhibit being successfully concluded, I now face a new challenge - how do we top this event next year?

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 10/29/2016


Our prayer group's mysterious
Rosa Mystica statue.
Yesterday was another extraordinary meeting for Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group (and I literally mean extraordinary).

It was rainy and cold, but most of our regular members made it to the Gruber home, anyway, and the meeting was on. Now the rosary and other prayers offered are always the central focus to our monthly meetings and are accompanied by a sense of the Holy Spirit... but when out-of-the-ordinary things also happen, the Holy Spirit "vibe" during the meeting always gets turned up way high. That's what happened last night... and again, it involved our group's Rosa Mystica statue.

When we pray the rosary together, different members of our group randomly lead a decade of the five Rosary Mysteries. Everything was progressing normally until the 5th Luminous Mystery - Christ institutes the Eucharist - at which point, one of our female members ("BM") was leading the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers. I happened to look up at the statue when I immediately noticed that its face had again "transfigured", taking on the life-like, dewy appearance that our members have sometimes noticed during our prayer... but this time around, I thought I saw both eyes on the image actually blink a few times before the pupils shifted to the right to gaze directly at BM. At the same time, the statue's expression appeared sweet and serene, and like a mother who seemed very pleased about something (how fortunate for BM!).

While intently observing the statue's face, I was startled when felt a few taps on my left forearm and I turned to see our prayer-leader, Dre, motioning to me to look at the statue's face. I knew then that she was also seeing an unusual transformation in the Rosa Mystica. We both kept quiet about the matter, but I did take out my cellphone and snapped a couple of photos of the statue before resuming to pray. The statue soon returned to its usual appearance, at least from my perspective. 

After the last prayer ended and most of the members had gone into the kitchen for our potluck dinner, Dre and I pulled BM aside to inquire if anything significant - good or bad - had happened to her recently. BM replied that she had actually gone to confession that morning after having been away from the confessional for a long period of time, and she was feeling great about her experience. BM then asked about our concern after which we both shared with her the unusual movements we saw in the statue. Another group member who was sitting close by overheard our conversation and let out a loud gasp before disclosing that she had seen the statue turn its head slightly towards BM while she was leading the decade... but she opted to not say anything because she wasn't sure if she was just imagining things. We were all blown away by how the three of us were able to corroborate each other's experiences, and how it all made sense that Our Lady would gaze at BM with a look of approval after she taken the initiative to cleanse her soul in the confessional.

The left photo shows a picture of our Rosa Mystica statue, taken over two years
ago, as it normally appears... while the other photo was taken last night when the pupils
were witnessed to have shifted to the far right.  Not only do the eyes appear different, but
its face and chin also look rounder than the statue's normal appearance.
And what about the shape of the hairline?

So what happened with the photos I took of the statue? Well, when I finally had a chance to review them today, both appear to show the pupils of the statue shifted to the far right of both eyes - towards the direction where BM was sitting at the table. Not only did the eyes look to be different, but the shape of the statue's face appeared fuller and rounder than usual; its eye brows were slightly thicker and a different shape; and the hairline was higher and missing the drooping scallop-shape on both sides of the forehead. Everyone involved agreed that there were noticeable differences in the two photos and the statue appeared life-like in the picture taken last night, which testified to our entire group's occasional experiences of seeing the statue come to life during our meetings. 

Needless to say, we are all in awe over this latest development with the Rosa Mystica statue. Just when we thought we'd seen it all, Our Lady surprises us with a new manifestation; another tangible sign that just leads us to respect and appreciate, even more, her maternal role and special guidance in our prayer group's faith-life. Thank you, Blessed Mother!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 2016


Dear Children...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on October 25th:
   "Dear children! Today I am calling you: pray for peace. Leave selfishness and live the messages which I am giving you. Without them, you cannot change your life. By living prayer, you will have peace. By living in peace, you will feel the need to witness, because you will discover God whom you now feel to be far away. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray and permit God to enter into your hearts. Return to fasting and confession so as to overcome the evil in you and around you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on October 2nd:
   "Dear children, the Holy Spirit, according to the Heavenly Father, made me the mother - the mother of Jesus - and by this alone, also your mother. That is why I am coming to hear you, that I may open my motherly arms to you; to give you my heart and to call you to remain with me, because from the top of the cross my Son entrusted you to me. Unfortunately, many of my children have not come to know the love of my Son; many of them do not want to come to know Him. Oh, my children, how much bad is done by those who must see or interpret in order to come to believe. That is why, you, my children, my apostles, in the silence of your heart, listen to the voice of my Son, so that your heart may be His home, that it may not be dark and sad, but that it may be illuminated with the light of my Son. Seek hope with faith, because faith is the life of the soul. Anew I am calling you: pray, pray to live faith in humility, in spiritual peace, and illuminated by the light. My children, do not strive to comprehend everything immediately, because I also did not comprehend everything immediately; but I loved, and I believed in the divine words which my Son spoke - He who was the first light and the beginning of redemption. Apostles of my love - you who pray, sacrifice yourselves, love and do not judge - you go and spread the truth, the words of my Son, the Gospel, because you are the living Gospel; you are the rays of the light of my Son. My Son and I will be with you to encourage you and to test you. My children, always implore the blessing of those, and only of those whose hands have been blessed by my Son, of your shepherds.  Thank you."

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relics Visitation: Vargas Residence, 10/15/2016


A public reminder for all Americans to pray for the spiritual and moral needs of our country.
With the Presidential Election looming less than a month away, urgent prayer is a must!

Just a couple of days ago - October 13th - it was the anniversary of the stupendous miracle of the "dancing sun" at Fatima, Portugal, which occurred 99 years ago. The date also signals the annual America Needs Fatima nationwide Rosary Rally Campaign held in many public venues and private homes throughout the US. For a group of us Kailua parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua Church, the date also means that one of our own - Auntie Patty Vargas - will be hosting another prayer rally in her family's driveway, to be followed by a delicious luncheon; it's become an eagerly anticipated annual tradition for Auntie Patty's large circle of family and friends.

        
Photos from the Vargas Family's public Rosary Rally.  Prayers were held in the driveway
facing the busy road for the public to see; a luncheon followed in the home.

So, as with the prior year Vargas Family rallies, I received a call from Auntie Patty who, again, invited my ministry's pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima and my Sacred Relics of the Fatima Seers - Blesseds Jacinta & Francisco; Sr. Lucia; and Bl. Alexandrina of Balasar (the "fourth seer" of Fatima) too - to be a part of the rally. These devotional objects have been coming with me to this event for the past five years so I guess I can safely say that they've become a welcomed part of the tradition, with Auntie Patty and some of the regular participants looking forward to seeing the relics and the pilgrim statue each year.

         
My pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima flanked by statues and relics of Blesseds
Francisco, Jacinta, & Alexandrina of Balasar.

It goes without saying that the Rosary Rally was again a beautiful and meaningful experience. At least for me, from the start there was a unique "vibe" in the air - an intense anticipation that something different, but good, was going to happen. The significance of this presentiment became clear when the prayer/song handout I was holding became mysteriously covered with escarchas during the Rosary Prayer! It somewhat startled me because at one moment I was looking at a plain white sheet of paper then, in the next, it was instantly covered with many tiny bluish-silver sparkles! I immediately understood that it was a sign that the gates of Heaven had opened for our Blessed Mother to come through, and that she was now among us in a very real way, although we couldn't see her.

... and even during the luncheon that followed, as I sat eating and talking with other participants, I noticed a few peoples' faces randomly sprinkled with golden flakes (it wasn't make-up)... and it was sort of amusing and frustrating, at the same time, that they were completely oblivious to the fact that parts of their faces were dotted with gold... and that Our Lady had descended from above to bless them in such a special way.

          
Left Photo: A golden flake on my finger; one of many escarchas I picked-up off the floor in my home.
Center Photo: A cluster of silver escarchas that manifested on a prayer sheet during the Rosary Rally.
Right Photo: One of a few golden escarchas that appeared on my left hand; visible on my thumb.

Lastly, I left Kailua humbled and grateful, and still on a spiritual high from this afternoon's event and its accompanying heavenly favors. Whatever grace we received at the rally was apparently extra-powerful because it extended beyond the Vargas home - when I reached my studio in Kaimuki, I discovered more gold escarchas scattered on the floor and furniture throughout my living room, kitchen, and bedroom. It was overwhelming, to say the least, but in a good way.

So with 2017 being the 100th anniversary of the great Fatima events, I'm anticipating that next year's public Rosary Rally will be even more significant and Holy Spirit-filled. I'm personally excited and I'm certain it'll be an exciting year for all Fatima devotees and the rest of the Church, as well.  I can hardly wait!

Friday, October 7, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Church - Our Lady of the Rosary Feast Day Procession, 10/7/2016


"Do not forget that God is more powerful than all of the evil in the world...
The world is on the edge of catastrophe.  Cleanse your hearts through prayer.
The only way is through God."

~ Our Lady of Kibeho, 1981

Today - the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary - is a significant anniversary in the Catholic Church. Very few people, nowadays, know what this feast actually signifies - it was instituted by Pope St. Pius V (d. 1572) to honor Our Lady after a Catholic naval coalition defeated a much larger Islamic fleet during the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The holy Pontiff, being well-aware of the disadvantages the Christian navy faced, called for the praying of the Holy Rosary by all of Europe to invoke our Holy Mother's intercession in bringing about victory for the Catholic forces.

"Love one other.  Forgive each other.  Make peace because if you do not
make it there will be no peace. Never turn to violence."

~ Our Lady of Cuapa, 1980

As history records, after a five hour battle the Catholic coalition proved victorious, thus, effectively preserving western Christian culture against Islamic domination. The feast was originally called the Feast of Our Lady of Victory but it was changed in the 20th Century to its present name.

Feast Day fellowship dinner at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua.
[click on each photo to view larger images]

It all just goes to show how powerful the Holy Rosary is as a weapon; how through this hallowed prayer, the Holy Virgin has aided the Church (and the rest of the world) against dangers of all sorts throughout history. This is why whenever, and wherever Our Lady appears on earth, she almost always carries a rosary and/or encourages that we pray it as a way of ending evil or preventing it. As such, my parish decided to pay tribute on this Feast Day to five of Our Lady's church-approved apparitions, via another candlelight rosary procession. Over a hundred parishioners - parents and children - showed up for this event.

"I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners,
and I wish you to do the same.”

~ Our Lady of Champion, 1859 

So tonight was a somewhat different procession for us - we did something unconventional during our Rosary Prayer. Instead of meditating on the traditional Rosary Mysteries, we substituted five of Our Lady's apparitions: Champion, Wisconsin (USA); Fatima (Portugal); Banneux (Belgium); Cuapa (Nicaragua); and Kibeho, Rwanda (central Africa). Our procession included stops at five special "Pilgrimage Stations" where female students from St. Anthony School became living representations of the Marian apparitions we featured.

The "Living Pilgrimage Stations"
(compare the images of Our Lady's apparitions with their corresponding living representations)

 

Above (L to R): The 1st and 2nd Stations (Our Lady of Champion & Fatima)
Below (L to R): The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Stations (Our Lady of Banneux, Cuapa, & Kibeho)


At each station, we encouraged our participants to imagine themselves on pilgrimage to the particular miraculous site where we narrated the history of the apparition; summarized Our Lady's message; and offered the Our Father and decade of Hail Marys to follow in response to a directive the Virgin delivered. All of the girls who portrayed the Blessed Mother did a great job in their respective roles and a couple of them were so convincing, it left many of the participants deeply impressed and spiritually moved (I had goosebumps!).  It was all BEAUTIFUL and AWESOME!

Procession participants gathered and praying at two of the Pilgrimage Stations.

At the end of the procession. the festivities continued with a potluck dinner in our parish hall, where lighthearted conversation and fellowship flowed. People discussed their positive experience of the procession, as well as just caught up with their fellow parishioners who they hadn't seen in the past week.

video
Video: Our parishioners ending our procession in the main
church building with a hymn to Our Lady.

In closing, this is the 4th consecutive year our parish has held a Rosary Procession... and I must say - this one was one of the best, given the novelty of our living Marian apparitions! May Our Lady's different messages relayed tonight at our Pilgrimage Stations take root in the hearts of our parishioners and bear abundant good fruits in our lives.  God bless us all.

"Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."

~ Our Lady of Fatima, 1917

Saturday, October 1, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 10/1/2016


6 years of Prayers, Saints, and Blessings! This month's meeting marked another milestone for our parish's First Saturday Rosary Devotion - it was the 6th Anniversary of our coming together consistently to pray for World Peace. Most of the regulars were in attendance, and today was all about the importance of the Rosary Devotion, given that October is the month of the Holy Rosary.

   
Pictured above, my pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  On the display altar with Our Lady's
statue was a smaller one of Bl. Alexandrina and a 2nd Class Relic from the Beata's clothing.

First off, I left my Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue at home today and opted to have my lovely Fatima statue make a rare appearance instead. Mary identified herself as the "Lady of the Rosary" in her final appearance at Fatima, Portugal, on October 13th, 1917, so it was fitting that this statue was our group's main devotional focal point for this month.

In addition, the featured Saint of the Month was Bl. Alexandrina Maria Da Costa, a Mystic and Victim-Soul who is often referred to as the "fourth seer of Fatima" because of the intense devotion she had to Our Lady of Fatima and her propagation of the Fatima Message to all who came to see her in the Portuguese village of Balasar. 

Golden escarchas that manifested
on the palm of my right hand.
A 2nd Class Relic from Alexandrina's dress was also made available for the edification of our prayer participants today. The people were in awe as I relayed the incredible story of Bl. Alexandrina's life and the miracles Jesus worked through her. In the end, I emphasized that the ultimate message we should take away from this holy woman's example is two-fold: Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist... and the message of Fatima continues to be relevant in our current times; that we urgently need to put Our Lady's request into practice to bring Peace into our lives and the rest of the world.

Lastly, there was a rare manifestation of escarchas. They appeared on my right hand and in the pew during the Mass in the main church. Perhaps it was Jesus and Mary's way of congratulating us on our anniversary... or maybe their way of punctuating the month's theme of the Rosary... or perhaps it was for both reasons. Whatever the case, I took the sign of the escarchas as a most welcome blessing to cap off the evening.

Hopefully, God be willing, our First Saturday Rosary will continue for another year with more positive fruits for our parish. For now, the next meeting will be held on November 5th, beginning at 4:25pm with the introduction of another Saint of the Month.  All are invited to participate.

Saint of the Month - October, 2016: Blessed Alexandrina Maria Da Costa


Blessed Alexandrina Maria Da Costa
The Fourth Seer of Fatima ~ Memorial: October 13th

Bl. Alexandrina was, undoubtedly, one of the most remarkable mystics ever to grace the Catholic Church. She was a victim-soul in the highest degree - a genuinely holy stigmatic - which most certainly means her life was replete with extraordinary events and charisms, too many to narrate in one blog. None the less, this short biography should suffice to give the reader a glimpse of just how truly virtuous and amazing this valiant woman's life was.

Born on March 30, 1904, Alexandrina Maria da Costa came into this world in the rural town of Balasar, Portugal. While still a small child, her father cruelly abandoned his family, which consisted of Alexandrina; her mother, Maria Ana; and an older sister named Deolinda. To make ends meet, Maria Ana took to working on a farm to support herself and her two girls... and it wasn't long after that the youngsters, themselves, had to join their mother as hired help to assist with the family income. Fortunately, biographers report that Alexandrina had a strong and healthy constitution, which made her capable when it came to the demanding physical labor on the farms. 

Despite their hard lot in life, the Da Costa family was a close knit one; sustained by the love they had for each other, and the innate faith they had in God. Maria Ana, by her worthy religious example, instilled in her daughters a deep piety. Alexandrina, particularly, despite being a headstrong and vivacious child, was unusually pious. Early on she enjoyed frequenting Balasar's parish church of St. Eulalia in order to exercise her keen devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It was a trait that continued for the rest of her life.

Love for the Eucharist & devotion
to Our Lady of Fatima were central
to Alexandrina's spirituality
When Alexandrina and Deolinda hit their early teens, both learned how to sew and began supplementing their household income as seamstresses, working out of the attic in their home. There, a fateful event took place that drastically impacted their family for the rest of their lives; Alexandrina was 14-years-old at the time. As the story goes... on Holy Saturday, 1918, while sewing with another girl, three men broke into the Da Costa home with the intent of molesting the adolescents. One of the men was actually Alexandrina's former employer, and despite their efforts to bar the attic door, the men (who were intoxicated) forced their way in and began their assault on the three children. Alexandrina found herself trapped against a window but rather than giving in to the men's perverse intentions, she heroically jumped through the glass pane and landed 13 feet unto the ground below!

The pain was excruciating, but when Alexandrina heard the frightened screams of the other girls, she grabbed a large piece of wood and bravely charged back into the attic to defend her sister and friend. Yelling and wildly swinging her crude weapon at the men, Alexandrina managed to drive the attackers away before collapsing from pain and exhaustion. As it turned out, she had irreparably injured her spine during her fall and, as a result, suffered increasing pain and progressive paralysis until she was completely immobile and bedridden by 1925. 

Initially, going from a once robust teen to a helpless paralytic was a hard pill to swallow for Alexandrina. To add to her pains was the concern she had for her hardworking mother and Deolinda, who became her caretaker. So she pleaded and bargained with God and the Blessed Virgin to cure her; even promising to live austerely and join a missionary congregation if she was healed. When no cure arrived, the invalid was left depressed and on the verge of desperation. It was during this dark period in her life that she became aware of Our Lady's 1917 apparitions in Fatima and, although her medical condition made it impossible to visit the miraculous site, Alexandrina took the Fatima message to heart. She was moved to accept her lot in life and, taking it a step further, offered herself to God as a victim for sinners. She wrote about her sacrifice in the following words: 

   "Without knowing quite how, I offered myself to Our Lord as a victim, and from this I went on to ask for a love of suffering. Our Lord granted me everything, that is, all the graces, so that today I wouldn't exchange my illness for the whole world."

Her enthusiastic promotion of the Fatima Devotion and the recently deceased child-seers - Jacinta and Francisco Marto - was another lifelong trait she was known for, so much so, that she is often referred to as the "fourth seer" of Fatima.

This photo captures Alexandrina in one of her many
frequent ecstasies during which she received celestial
communication from Jesus & Our Lady.
With Alexandrina's self-oblation came a new outlook on life and she embraced her suffering with heroic fortitude. Her increasing desire to suffer for the conversion sinners was a catalyst that eventually led to many private revelations and apparitions from Jesus and Mary, beginning in 1931 when the Lord said to her, "Love, suffer, and make reparation". Other mystical phenomena followed, with the most notable being weekly participation in the Passion of Christ; a perpetual fast during which she survived on the Eucharist; and physical harassment from the devil, who Alexandrina enraged by her efforts to rescue souls from him. Of these diabolic attacks, she once narrated: 

   "The devil, finding he was making no headway by tormenting my conscience and making vile suggestions, began to hurl me from the bed, sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. In the beginning I concealed these attacks from my family with the exception of Deolinda. But as the violence of the evil one increased, I felt obliged to tell my mother and the girl we had at home."

The weekly Passion Ecstasies began on Friday, October 3, 1938 and the last one occurred just before Holy Week 1942. During these special occasions of reparational suffering, Alexandrina mysteriously regained the use of her paralyzed limbs and moved about in her small room, reenacting the different stages of the Passion in union with our Lord. At the end of each ecstasy she would speak with Jesus for a time, before returning to her usual state of paralysis. In all, Alexandrina endured approximately 180 Passion Ecstasies in a nearly four year period. 

Two photos showing scenes from Alexandrina's weekly Passion Ecstasies.  In the left she endures
Pilot's unjust trial & condemnation of Jesus; the right photo shows the Crucifixion.

As for the phenomenon of perpetually fasting, this began on Good Friday 1942 the week after the Passion Ecstasies ceased, and it lasted until her death thirteen years later. The fast began after Jesus stated the following words to Alexandrina: 

   "You will not take food again on earth. Your food will be my Flesh; your blood will be my Divine Blood, your life will be my Life. You receive it from me when I unite my Heart to your heart. Do not fear, my daughter. You will not be crucified any more as in the past... and now a new trial awaits you, which will be the most painful of all but in the end I will carry you to Heaven, and the Holy Mother will accompany you."

With this new wonder in Alexandrina's life, Jesus confirmed, in a concrete manner, the Catholic Church's sublime teaching concerning his True Presence in the Eucharist, which the invalid received as her sole nourishment every day. The veracity of the fast was confirmed in 1943 after Alexandrina was taken to a hospital in nearby Porto, were she was strictly observed for 40 days. In the end, the supervising doctor, Dr. Araujo, published a favorable medical finding in the following words:

   "It is absolutely certain that during forty days of being bedridden in hospital, the sick woman did not eat or drink . . . and we believe such phenomenon could have happened during the past months, perhaps the past 13 months . . . leaving us perplexed."

Alexandrina's tomb in the parish church
of Balasar, Portugal.
Alexandrina returned home, vindicated, and spent the remaining years in continued prayer and sacrifice. News of her spread throughout Europe and pilgrims flocked to her home for spiritual help and counsel. Her advice was always the same - convert and return to God; live the message of Fatima; practice the 5 First Saturdays Devotion.

The "Victim of Balasar" died at the age of 51 on October 13, 1955. The date was providential in itself since it commemorated the final apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, whose message Alexandrina advocated so passionately in her personal ministry. Needless to say, her funeral was a triumph with thousands attending to mourn the passing of this great soul.

Just twelve short years after her death, Alexandrina's Cause for Canonization was officially initiated by her diocese and it successfully led to her Beatification on April 25, 2004. One more approved miracle is still needed for this Portuguese heroine to be declared a Saint; may the good Lord see fit to soon grant his Church this gift.

A Reflection:
"...But never sin again: do not offend Jesus anymore! Sinners, how much I want to tell you.... Do not risk losing Jesus for all eternity, for he is so good."  ~ Words of Bl. Alexandrina 

A Short Prayer:
Dear Bl. Alexandrina, obtain for us the grace of a sincere and lasting conversion, for the love of God and for the sake of our own good; that we may not sadly lose Jesus for all eternity, but rather, come to happily join you in Paradise in contemplation of His immense love and goodness.  Amen.