The testimony of life is following Christ. Bl. Lindalva Justo de Oliveira
From St. Vincent’s teaching: From St. Vincent’s teaching: We live in Christ through his saved death. Our life in Him is hidden and permeated by Him. We must live like Christ so we could die as He did.
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Lindalva Justo de Oliveira was born on October 20, 1953 in Brazil. She was the sixth of the thirteen children to the farmer Joao Justo da Fe and Maria Lucia da Fe (in 2014 her mother was still alive and was 91 years old).
She received the sacrament of baptism on January 7, 1954. She received the first communion on December 15, 1965, and in 1971 she began to help raise her three nephews.
Her parents tried to convince her to get married during this period, but she rejected the conversation saying that she already had three sons – three children of her brother whom she helped. Oliviera lived for a while with his brother Jamla in Natal, and then she received an administrative assistant’s diploma in 1979. Since 1978 she worked in retail, as well as a cashier at a patrol station. Since her father got seriously ill in 1982, she helped him in the last months of his life. One day, the father called for his children and asked them to continue their faith and devote themselves to God in the best way. He died in a few hours.
Shortly after 1982, Lindalva studied nursing. In 1986 she attended a house of Sisters of Mercy and requested joining them. It happened at the end of 1987. Earlier, on November 28, 1987, Archbishop of Natal Nivaldo Monte granted her the sacrament of Confirmation.
On 28 December 1987 she received a letter from the Provincial Mother of the Sisters of Mercy, accepting her entrance into the congregation. She entered a postulate on February 11, 1988 in Recife. She started a novice on June 3, 1989 and finished it in January 29, 1991. She wrote then: «It is so beautiful to love God and His mother! If I love, my heart is in God. I can see God only through the people I contact, no matter what they are. In love, everything becomes joy, in harmony with nature, with understanding, and only in Him it is necessary to think about tomorrow. When I think so, I see beings, animals, nature, safe in God’s love and mercy to ungrateful and self-confident humans.»
Lindalva began to work at the shelter titled Don Pedro II in Bahia, where sisters aid older people and the poor. The witnesses of her ministry remembered her as a simple, warm and joyous nun, who treated everyone with the same devotion, doing a modest simple job for her person under care. Answering the question on the mystery of the joy she provided due to her presence, Lindalva replied: «But I also suffer in my heart which belongs to me. The face belongs to other people and should be decorated with a smile. Always.» In January 1993, a man named August and Silva Peyhoto appeared in the shelter. In short time he started to harass Lindalva despite her best efforts to keep her distance from him while treating him. People around her convinced her to report it and on 30 March 1993 the official of the shelter – Margarita Maria Siva de Azevedo – rebuked him … Augustus responded on 5 April, 1993. That day – on Good Friday – Lindalva participated in the Way of the Cross at 4:30am and returned to the shelter at 7:00am to serve breakfast. Augustus approached her as she served coffee and hit her with a knife many times. Lindalva dropped to the ground and cried several times: “God, save me!”, and her attacker shouted: “I should have done it earlier!” People tried to intervene, but Augustus warned that those who approached would be killed. Augustus threw the knife onto the floor exclaiming to the witnesses: “She did not want me!”, and he said to a doctor that was summoned: «You can call the police, I will not escape, I did what I was supposed to do». The killer sat on the bench at the shelter and was waiting for the police; he was admitted to a mental hospital following his conviction. A total of 44 perforations were identified in Oliviera’s body. Her funeral was celebrated on 10 April, 1993. December 2, 2007 she was acknowledged blessed as the first nun of Brazil
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Here is a saint who until her death fought to protect the God’s Law; she was not afraid of persecutors’ threats because Christ was her strength. (Entrance antiphon of blessed Lindalva memorial)
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And here we can look into the eyes of a blessed woman, who is our contemporary. There are bright pictures, even films, where we can see a smiling girl surrounded by modern equipment, extremely modern objects. This is a great gift to have saints who lived so close, in our time, such as John Paul II, Mother Theresa and such as Blessed Lindalva, a Sister of Mercy from Brazil, who died defending purity.
During Lindalva Justo de Oliveira’s beatification, Cardinal Saraina Martinez said the following: «In an important section of post-synodal apostolic reminder of “Sacramentum Caritatis”, Pope Benedict XVI underscored a fundamental link between recognizing God’s sacraments and life’s testimony; between experiencing God’s Mystery, a source of great delight and internal joy, and the strengthrning of a new commitment, which, in turn, leads to “testimony of His love”. Blessed Lindalva’s case reconfirms to us yet one more time that consistent and clear testament of believers is the means through which God’s Truth reaches people throughout history, inviting them to voluntarily accept this radical news. I wish this to all of you, and each one in particular, and I ask God that you could carry a smile and bring joyful dedication to your friends and relatives – a testament of joy that transforms everyone around. And perhaps the most interesting Lindalva’s legacy is indescribable joy of closeness to Resurrected Christ’s feet, an understanding that as God’s children we are called to holiness, and for each one of us holiness is the true path»
In a letter to brother Antony, an alcoholic, one time she wrote: «I pray for you a lot, and I will continue praying, and if necessary I will repent so that you could realize yourself as a person. Follow Jesus who, till His death, fought for sinners’ lives and gave up His life not as God, but as a person, so that sins may be forgiven. In Him we should see redemption. Only in Him the life is worth living.»
God, who is love, is the only reason for our life and our calling, the only source of our happiness and the entire spiritual well-being. We should see this very clearly: as soon as we depart from God, we fall. But we really want to become holy. Thus we should carry all our deeds through Christ and in Christ, as did blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira. Even if this brings us onto the cross, as it did for her.
Did you consider religious life? Did you consider becoming a missionary?