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Beatification of Brazilian laywoman, daughter of a slave

May 06, 2013

Francisca de Paula de Jesus (1808-95), also known as Nhá Chica, was beatified on May 4 in Baependi, a town of 18,000 in southeastern Brazil. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the outdoor Mass of beatification.

The daughter of a former slave, Blessed Francisca was orphaned at age 10. With money received from an inheritance from her brother, the single laywoman built a small shrine to the Immaculate Conception.

Rich and poor alike turned to her for prayer and counsel, and she became known as the “mother of the poor.”

During the four days between her death and burial, and again when her body was exhumed in 1993, those present reported a mysterious scent of roses.

Pope Benedict XVI declared Blessed Francisca venerable in 2011. Subsequently, a Vatican panel declared that a 1995 cure of a professor from a serious heart defect was miraculous and attributable to Blessed Francisca’s intercession.


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