Bl Alexandrina – A Modern Mystic…

“ I desire that, after your death, your life may be known, and that will happen; I shall see to it.  It will reach the ends of the earth.”

Our Lord speaking to Blessed Alexandrina, 22nd November 1937.

The desire of Jesus to see a widespread knowledge of the life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa of Portugal is starting to be fulfilled, as devotion to her grows steadily throughout the world.  One of the great mystics of modern times, a ‘victim soul’ chosen by Christ to suffer in atonement for the sins of humanity, she appears set to become an important and well-loved saint in the Universal Church.

Her life gives us an example of complete fidelity to the will of Christ, and also presents an astonishing and undeniable explosion of the supernatural to an increasingly secular world. 

Blessed AlexandrinaBedridden for life from the age of twenty, after sustaining a serious injury some years earlier while trying to escape from an attack on her virtue, she suffered unspeakable pain throughout her life and mystically underwent the Passion of Christ on Fridays to atone for the sins of humanity.  She also had frequent ecstasies during which she saw and spoke with Our Lord and Our Lady, and offered her sufferings to bring about the consecration of the world by Pope Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an act which in turn shortened the duration of World War II.

Her life reaffirms the immense value of suffering offered in union with Jesus, and stands as a beacon of hope to those who suffer in any way, and a sign of contradiction to those who would deny the value of suffering offered in union with Jesus.  She prayed especially for youth, and has been proposed by the Church as “a model of purity and perseverance in the Faith for today’s youth.”

Although she was never able to visit the site of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Fatima, Alexandrina’s extraordinary story has many connections to the Fatima events, and her message is essentially the same: “ Do penance, sin no more, pray the Rosary, receive the Eucharist ”.  Because of this, she has been described as the ‘fourth seer of Fatima’.  One can point to miraculous occurrences in the lives of all the saints, but Alexandrina herself became a living miracle , for in the last thirteen years of her life, she ate and drank absolutely nothing, existing on the Holy Eucharist alone.

Pope John Paul II said the following about Alexandrina in his homily at her beatification ceremony in 2004:-

“ ‘Do you love me?’, Jesus asks Simon Peter, who replies: ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love you’. The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summarized in this dialogue of love. Permeated and burning with this anxiety of love, she wished to deny nothing to her Saviour. With a strong will, she accepted everything to demonstrate her love for him. A ‘spouse of blood’, she mystically relived Christ’s passion and offered herself as a victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist: this became her only source of nourishment for the final 13 years of her life.  With the example of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy ‘suffer, love, make reparation’, Christians are able to discover the stimulus and motivation to make ‘noble’ all that is painful and sad in life through the greatest evidence of love: sacrificing one’s life for the beloved.  Secret of holiness: love for Christ.”  Click here to read more…

Comments invited 

25 responses

  1. Thank you for posting this, Editor. I had never heard of this blessed soul, and I have not yet read the entire linked article, but my first reaction is to these words:

    Her life reaffirms the immense value of suffering offered in union with Jesus, and stands as a beacon of hope to those who suffer in any way, and a sign of contradiction to those who would deny the value of suffering offered in union with Jesus.

    Indeed, a sign of contradiction for our present Pope, who seems to view suffering as (a) an obstacle to “personal fulfillment,” (b) one of those unattainable ideals of the Church that must be ameliorated (or dispensed with) on a case-by-case basis, and (c) an entirely economic experience reserved solely for the poor, the elderly and the unemployed! Oh, and probably, as well, some wildlife suffering from “:climate change.”

    • RCA Victor,

      VERY well said. Her life is really very interesting indeed. What I find particularly interesting is the Fatima connection.

  2. “for in the last thirteen years of her life, she ate and drank absolutely nothing, existing on the Holy Eucharist alone.”

    I haven’t read the whole article yet, but is there medical evidence for the above claim? It seems incredible (not meaning “impossible”).

    What I’ve read so far is most edifying, so I am looking forward to visiting the link and reading the rest.

    • Michaela

      Yes it is factual in all respects. I am grateful that we have such men and women who willing take on such suffering on our behalf. This priest was also prepared to suffer but in a different way.

      St. Charbel Makhlouf
      Birth: 1828
      Death: 1898

      Saint Charbel would rise at dawn to prepare to offer the Holy Sacrifice, then spend the rest of the day in thanksgiving for the privilege of doing so. I have carried his relic given to me by the Monastery of Saint Maron for 35 years.

      Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in 1828, in Bekaa Kafra (North Lebanon). He had a true Christian upbringing, which had given him a passion for prayer. Then he followed his two hermit uncles in the hermitage of the St Antonious Kozhaya monastery and was converted to monastic and hermetical life.

      In 1851, he left his family village and headed for the Our Lady of Maifouk monastery to spend his first monastic year, and then he went to the St Maron monastery in Annaya, where he entered the Maronite Order, carrying the name Charbel, a name of one of the Antioch church martyrs of the second century. On November 1st. 1853, he exposed his ceremonial vows in St Maron’s monastery – Annaya. Then he completed his theological studies in the St Kobrianous and Justina monastery in Kfifan, Batroun.

      He was ordained a priest in Bkerky, the Maronite Patriarchate, on July 23rd, 1859. He lived 16 years in the St Maron’s monastery – Annaya. From there, he entered, on February 15th, 1875, the St Peter & Paul hermitage, which belongs to the monastery. He was a typical saint and hermit, who spent his time praying and worshipping. Rarely had he left the hermitage where he followed the way of the saintly hermits in prayers, life and practice.

      St Charbel lived in the hermitage for 23 years. On December 16th, 1898 he was struck with an illness while performing the holy mass. He died on Christmas’ eve, December 24th, 1898, and was buried in the St Maron monastery cemetery in Annaya.

      Few months later, dazzling lights were seen around the grave. From there, his corpse, which had been secreting sweat and blood, was transferred into a special coffin. Hordes of pilgrims started swarming the place to get his intercession. And through this intercession, God blessed many people with recovery and spiritual graces.

      In 1925, his beatification and canonization were proposed for declaration by Pope Pious XI. In 1950, the grave was opened in the presence of an official committee which included doctors who verified the soundness of the body. After the grave had been opened and inspected, the variety of healing incidents amazingly multiplied. A multitude of pilgrims from different religious facets started flocking to the Annaya monastery to get the saint’s intercession.

      Prodigies reached beyond the Lebanese borders. This unique phenomenon caused a moral revolution, the return to faith and the reviving of the virtues of the soul.

      • Jimislander,

        That is a beautiful story about the priest St. Charbel Makhlouf, who I had never heard of. It is really good to read these stories of holy people, as we are swamped with worldly celebrities who are never going to be role models for anyone as they all seem to lack a sense of decency and morality. I think if young Catholics could read more stories like the ones on this blog, and other saints, they would grow to love the faith more.

    • Michaela,

      I believe St. Catherine of Siena was among those who subsisted entirely on the Holy Eucharist – among others. St. Rose of Lima also? (not sure about her)

      • RCA Victor,

        I have tried to read about St Rose of Lima but can’t find anything that says she existed only on the Eucharist, but I am amazed at the number of holy souls who did that.. It is really amazing.

  3. Michaela,

    Yes, there is medical evidence for the above claim. The total fast started on Good Friday 1942, and she went to the hospital in 1943 (hence the reference to ’13 months’ below, but in the end, the total length of the fast was 13 years). Here is the testimony of the doctors in the hospital where she was kept under observation:-

    “After a very difficult journey Alexandrina arrived at the hospital on 10th June 1943 and was put under the strictest supervision. Two people kept her under intense scrutiny around the clock, all the time she was in hospital. Alexandrina said that she found Dr Enrico Gomes de Araujo, the doctor in charge of conducting the observation, to be strict “even to the point of harshness”. Dr Araujo visited Alexandrina several times each day and interrogated her, and she underwent many other trials and indignities during her stay in hospital. Alexandrina’s own physician, Dr Azevedo, visited her on occasions, and his support and company afforded her some relief. After thirty days of being constantly monitored, another physician, disbelieving the genuineness of Alexandrina’s fast, insisted that she remain for a further ten days. On 19th July 1943, the day before she left hospital, all the children of the hospital gathered around Alexandrina’s bed and she prayed with them. Later, over 1,500 people arrived to catch a glimpse of the ‘Victim of Balasar’ and the police had to be brought in to control the crowd. Dr Araujo told Alexandrina that the observation was concluded and said “ In October, I will come to visit you at Balasar, not as a doctor-spy, but as a friend who respects you.” Dr Araujo’s official report confirmed Alexandrina’s fast as scientifically inexplicable. It stated:-

    “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.”

    A further report by Drs Lima and Azevedo confirmed the above:-

    “We the undersigned, Dr C. A. di Lima, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Oporto and Dr E. A. D. de Azevedo, doctor graduate of the same Faculty, testify that, having examined Alexandrina Maria da Costa, aged 39, born and resident at Balasar, of the district of Póvoa de Varzim … have confirmed her paralysis … And we also testify that the bedridden woman, from 10 June to 20 July 1943 remained in the sector for infantile paralysis at the Hospital of Foce del Duro, under the direction of Dr Araujo and under day and night surveillance by impartial persons desirous of discovering the truth of her fast. Her abstinence from solids and liquids was absolute during all that time. We testify also that she retained her weight, and her temperature, breathing, blood pressure, pulse and blood were normal while her mental faculties were constant and lucid and during these forty days, she did not have any natural bodily functions”

    I agree with Editor. The connections with Fatima are overwhelming. In fact, she is known in Portugal as the ‘Fourth Seer of Fatima’. She begged people to do the First Saturdays and wear the Brown Scapular and pray the rosary and do penance etc. She certainly understood the importance of the Fatima message – and lived it!

  4. I have not heard of BL Alexandrina before and I will implore for her intercessions, especially for my children and grandchildren. I am a little puzzled by an apparent contradiction regarding the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Fatima message was of the consecration of Russia by the pope in union with the bishops of the world in their Cathedrals. as opposed to the consecration of the world by the pope. How should one understand this?

    • Gildas Wiseman

      I think reference in the article to a consecration of the world rather than Russia is just typical of the poor understanding many commentators have of Our Lady’s Fatima Message. You are correct, it is Russia’s public collegial consecration Our Lady asked for.

      As for Alexandrina’s life, I read it many years ago. She was indeed a holy victim soul who doubtless won many graces for the Church by her extreme sufferings. I must see if I still have the book.

        • Gildas Wiseman,

          I have had an email from the author of the booklet on Blessed Alexandrina, which is the introduction to this thread:

          “I have about 10 of the booklets left. If any of the readers who have expressed a desire on the blog to get a book wish to contact you and give their name and a postal address (which you could then pass to me) I will send them one free of charge. I must order some more from the publishers. Alternatively, they can buy them on-line from the USA publishers’ website. http://www.newhope-ky.org/#!product-page/cqqy/da6d3cd6-9ed4-0e77-be22-cc5078be103b

          The booklet is essentially the same as what is on the website, although it has been updated and contains colour pics etc. END OF EMAIL

          Over to thee – anyone who wishes to obtain the offered free copy, send me your postal details and I will forward them to the author without delay. Email me on editor@catholictruthscotland.com and then just sit back and wait for the postman!

    • GildasWiseman,

      The consecration of the world that Our Lord asked for, and which Bl. Alexandrina prayed and suffered for, was a separate and distinct request from the consecration of Russia. Around 1935 Bl. Alexandrina received a series of messages from Our Lord, warning that a second world war would take place as a punishment for the sins of humanity, and that this war could be averted by the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As we know, the consecration didn’t occur straight away – the war happened, but it was shortened by Bl. Alexandrina’s sufferings which won the graces for the Holy Father to perform the consecration on October 31,1942.

      In a letter dated February 28, 1943, to the Bishop of Gurza about the consecration of the world on October 31, 1942, Sr. Lucia of Fatima wrote: “The good God has already shown me that He is pleased by the act, even though incomplete, accomplished by the Holy Father and by several bishops. He promises, in return, to put an end to the war soon. The conversion of Russia is not for now.”

      On May 4, 1943, Sr. Lucy wrote in the same vein to Fr. Gonçalves: “Our Lord promises to end the war soon, in consideration for the act which His Holiness has deigned to accomplish. But as it was incomplete, the conversion of Russia will be later.”

      Another such instance of the positive effects of a consecration other than Russia, was the Consecration of Portugal by the Portuguese bishops, and the miraculous results which sprang from that. John Vennari did a fantastic talk on the consecration of Portugal and the benefits the country received from that. A transcript of the basics of it can be found here: http://www.cfnews.org/page10/page91/consecration-addup.html Scroll down to where it is headed The Consecration of Portugal: “Showcase of Our Lady”

      I think these requests for consecrations other than Russia have been given to us, in order to demonstrate their efficacy if they are obeyed – and also the danger if they are ignored. And when Our Lady’s request to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart is obeyed, then there will finally be world peace.

      • Westminster Fly,

        Thank you for that clearing up about the consecrations. I’d never heard that about Our Lord asking for a separate consecration of the world. That is very interesting but very insightful as well because it adds another dimension to Fatima, where Sr Lucia said “the Consecration of Russia is not for now” so knowing that it “would be late” as Our Lady had prophesied at Fatima, God asked for this separate consecration of the world. That does make sense.

        It’s a really wonderful life story.

  5. Editor

    Thank you for posting that wonderful story, I have just finished reading the full article ” which moved me to tears” I would urge everyone to read it in full and will be forwarding it on to a few friends and family.

    • Thank you for your comprehensive reply and the link. I have great repect for John Vennari.

  6. Editor,

    Speaking of these holy victim souls suffering in reparation for the sins of humanity, I’m wondering if anyone has called for reparation for the horrifying scandal of Amoris Laetitia…. (not trying to switch topics, but it seems to me that Bl. Alexandrina would certainly have done this.)

    • RCA Victor
      I think the reparatory devotions par excellence are the First Friday devotions in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus requested by Our Lord at Paray-le-Monial, France, and the First Saturday devotions in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, requested by Our Lady at Fatima.

  7. That is a very beautiful story about Blessed Alexandrina. I’d never heard of her. I found it all very edifying.

  8. IMPORTANT NOTICE…

    I have had an email from the author of the booklet on Blessed Alexandrina, which is the introduction to this thread:

    “I have about 10 of the booklets left. If any of the readers who have expressed a desire on the blog to get a book wish to contact you and give their name and a postal address (which you could then pass to me) I will send them one free of charge. I must order some more from the publishers. Alternatively, they can buy them on-line from the USA publishers’ website. http://www.newhope-ky.org/#!product-page/cqqy/da6d3cd6-9ed4-0e77-be22-cc5078be103b

    The booklet is essentially the same as what is on the website, although it has been updated and contains colour pics etc. END OF EMAIL

    Over to thee – anyone who wishes to obtain the offered free copy, send me your postal details and I will forward them to the author without delay. Email me on editor@catholictruthscotland.com and then just sit back and wait for the postman!

  9. I have come to the conclusion, reading about this beautiful soul, that victim, holy souls like her are the way that God renews the Church. All the talk from modernists is about renewal meaning revolution, changing things, everything from the Mass to the Rosary, but that is not the kind of renewal we need in the Church. Personal renewal, winning grace is the only kind of renewal possible and it is the lives of holy people like this Blessed that brings about renewal within our hearts and souls. That’s what I get from reading this beautiful life story.

    • Michaela,
      You’re so right. It’s these little, hidden, suffering souls that are keeping the Church afloat. No doubt about it. The penitential, sacrificial and suffering aspects are a crucial part of the Fatima message, frequently overlooked, but Alexandrina reminds us of these important aspects. The theme runs from the beginning of the Fatima apparitions on May 13, 1917, when Our Lady asked the children: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?”. On July 13, 1917: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” On August 19, 1917: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.” On September 13, 1917: “God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.” Even the vision of the Angel in the vision of the Secret released in 2000, was noted as crying out “Penance! Penance! Penance!

  10. My copy of the booklet about Blessed Alexandrina arrived a couple of days ago and I started to read it last night. It is really excellent.

    About five people emailed for a free copy each, so that leaves around five still available if anyone in the UK would like to take advantage of the author’s kind invitation to send for a free copy.

    I really recommend it – I’ve read Chapter One only at this stage but looking forward to Chapter Two – a really edifying booklet.

    If you would like to receive one of the remaining free copies, email editor@catholictruthscotland.com

  11. I have now finished reading my copy of the booklet on Blessed Alexandrina and it is a most edifying read, if somewhat terrifying that one soul could suffer so much for the rest of us. I wonder what Pope Francis would make of the “mercy” of Jesus in the demands He made of this unique soul.

    I was especially struck by the lengthy observation by medics, to ensure that the complete fast from ordinary food and drink was, indeed, being observed, and is not a false claim: Two people kept her under intense scrutiny around the clock all the time she was in hospital. Alexandrina said that she found Dr. Henrique Gomes de Araujo, the doctor in charge of conducting the observation, to be strict “even to the point of harshness.” Dr Araujo visited Alexandrina several times each day and interrogated her, and she underwent many other trials and indignities during her stay in hospital…After thirty days of being constantly monitored, another physician, disbelieving the genuineness of Alexandrina’s fast, insisted that she remain for a further ten days…Dr Araujo’s official report confirmed Alexandrina’s fast as scientifically inexplicable. It stated: 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. A further report by Drs Lima and Azevedo confirmed the above: We, the undersigned [professor of the faculty of medicine of Oporto and doctor graduate of the same faculty] testify that, having examined Alexandrina Maria da Costa, aged 39… have confirmed her paralysis… And we also testify that the bedridden woman, from June 10 to July 20, 1943, remained in the sector for infantile paralysis at the Hospital of Foz do Douro, under the direction of Dr Araujo and under day and night surveillance by impartial persons desirous of discovering the truth of her fast. Her abstinence from solids and liquids was absolute during all that time. We testify also that she retained her weight, and her temperature, breathing, blood pressure, pulse and blood were normal while her mental faculties were constant and lucid, and during these forty days, she did not have any natural bodily functions.”

    That section of the booklet on the fast concludes: While this phenomenon was inexplicable to everyone else, Alexandrina knew the cause of it, for Jesus had already told her: “You are living by the Eucharist alone because I want to prove to the world the power of the Eucharist and the power of my life in souls”.

    The entire booklet is easy to read, well structured and is spiritually uplifting and thought-provoking. I look forward to learning what others who have read it, think of it.

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