A special devotion to God the Father strengthened this elderly woman and her family as they faced the virus.
Mrs. Petronilia Souza Almeida enjoyed a double celebration on June 2: She turned 101 years old, and was declared cured of COVID-19 thanks to what she considers a miracle of the Divine Eternal Father through the intercession of Our Lady.
This is her answer, full of conviction, to those who ask her how she was cured of coronavirus when she’s over 100 years old: “It was the greatest miracle He could do for me. And He did!” Her experience and testimony were shared on the website of the Children of the Eternal Father Association (or AFIPE, the abbreviation of its name in Portuguese).
Mrs. Souza Almeida lives in the town of Axixá do Tocantins in northern Brazil. The neighboring state of Goiás is home to the only shrine in the world dedicated to the Divine Eternal Father, in the city of Trinidade.
“I have stayed close to the Divine Eternal Father, and I am here. He wanted to give me health so that I could recover and complete another year of life … The Divine Eternal Father works miracles!”
The century-old devotee spent 6 days in the ICU, away from her family but confident she would be healed.
A life of faith and miracles
It’s not the first time she’s beaten death. In 2012, a heart condition gave her a bleak prognosis of only 2 more months to live. Eight years have passed since then. She has grown in her faith in the Eternal Father since then, especially by participating in the novena dedicated to Him.
Petronilia Souza Almeida, who is a widow, has 14 children, 71 grandchildren, 98 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren. The whole family is devoted to the Divine Eternal Father and attributes to Him several other miracles.
One of them is reported by Antonia, one of Souza Almeida’s daughters. The doctors stated that Antonia’s grandson probably would not be able to walk, since he was born with a severe disability in his legs. Antonia recounts,
“I made a promise that if he started to walk, I would walk from Goiânia to Trindade. In eight days, my grandson started to walk. He’s already 10 years old now. We thank and praise the Divine Eternal Father for this … I’ve received three graces [from the Eternal Father] in my life and now, one more, my mother’s cure. And here at home all my sisters have also made the walking pilgrimage. Today we only have to thank the Divine Eternal Father.”
One of Petronilia’s granddaughters, Lislena Sousa Freitas, also spoke about her grandmother in the article on the AFIPE website.
“Everyone there in the hospital where she was admitted was impressed by her strength and recovery,” she said. “We didn’t think she would come back, but she was given one more chance in life. It wasn’t good-bye, it was another lesson for all of us.”
AFIPE was founded in Trindade by Fr. Robson de Oliveira Pereira, a Redemptorist missionary. According to the website, the devotion to the Divine Eternal Father began in the region around 1840 when a husband and wife, working their fields, found a clay medallion of the Holy Trinity crowning the Virgin Mary.
In 2020, unfortunately, the traditional celebration and pilgrimage of the Divine Eternal Father had to be cancelled. In 2019, at least 3,200,000 pilgrims and devotees visited the shrine in Trindade.