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Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany

Making History: Father Victor, Son of a Slave, to be Brazil’s First Black “Blessed”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/12/15

He’s scheduled to be beatified this Saturday.

His life story, via Wikipedia, is remarkableamong other things,his godmother was his mother’s ownerand his legacy stands as a study in perseverance, humility and faith:

Francisco de Paula Victor (12 April 1827 – 23 September 1905) was a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest. He is the first black Brazilian national to be beatified in the Roman Catholic Church. Francisco de Paula Victor was born on 12 April 1827 in Brazil to a former slave: Lourença Justiniana de Jesus; he was baptized on the following 20 August. His baptismal godmother was Marianna Santa Barbara Ferreira who was his mother’s owner. He was apprenticed to a tailor but his sole desire was to become a priest which his mother held as being unthinkable; even more so was this for black natives did not become priests. This was a prospect that others around him were quick to shoot down. He began his studies in Mariana under the guidance of Father Antonio Felipe de Araújo from 5 June 1849 and he endured much discrimination from his fellow seminarians to the point where he was treated like a slave. A seminarian recognized later his merits: “Victor was patient, always patient” while another wrote that “Victor always had hope”. It was because of his humble nature as well as his sheer determination to become a priest that he managed to win the sympathy of all. He was ordained to the priesthood on 14 June 1851 to the surprise of his fellow seminarians. Much of the population did nit accept that a former black slave could be a priest and so refused to receive the Eucharist from him. He was sent on 18 June 1852 to Tres Pontas as a vice-parish priest and was met with confusion. He was humble and patient and his determination in parish affairs led to much support from the public. He died on 23 September 1905 and was buried in his parish church. His remains were exhumed for canonical recognition in 1999 and were then placed in a new sarcophagus.

Read more.

The two virtues attributed to him are “patience” and “hope.” Don’t we all need more of that, especially now?

Blessed Francisco Victor, pray for us! Give us patience! Give us hope!

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