Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bl. Alexandrina Maria da Costa - 2015 is the 60th Anniversary of her death.

Alexandrina Maria da Costa

Blessed Alexandrina wasn't a martyr - she was an ordinary laywoman.  Kind of.  Essentially she was a victim soul and mystic.  At the age of twelve Our Lord revealed this vocation to her.  The same age Maria Goretti died a martyr, this young girl was given the vocation of a victim soul.  God is so mean, huh?  Who would ever want a young girl to suffer?  Or die?  Or be harmed in any way, right?  (I'm being facetious of course.)

Here's the deal.

Alexandrina jumped from a second story window, crippling herself rather than succumb to rape.  To preserve her purity - aka virginity.
When Alexandrina was 14, something happened that left a permanent imprint on her, both physically and spiritually: it gave her a face-to-face look at the horror and consequences of sin. 
On Holy Saturday of 1918, while Alexandrina, Deolinda and a young apprentice were busily sewing, three men violently entered their home and attempted to sexually violate them. To preserve her purity, Alexandrina jumped from a window, falling four metres to the ground. 
Her injuries were many, and the doctors diagnosed her condition as "irreversible": it was predicted the paralysis she suffered would only get worse. 
Until age 19, Alexandrina was still able to "drag herself" to church where, hunched over, she would remain in prayer, to the great amazement of the parishioners. With her paralysis and pain worsening, however, she was forced to remain immobile, and from 14 April 1925 until her death - approximately 30 years - she would remain bedridden, completely paralyzed. 
Alexandrina continued to ask the Blessed Mother for the grace of a miraculous healing, promising to become a missionary if she were healed. 
Little by little, however, God helped her to see that suffering was her vocation and that she had a special call to be the Lord's "victim". The more Alexandrina "understood" that this was her mission, the more willingly she embraced it. 
She said: "Our Lady has given me an even greater grace: first, abandonment; then, complete conformity to God's will; finally, the thirst for suffering". - Read more at Vatican/Saints

New martyrs for purity.

The example of the early virgin martyrs, as well as the story of Maria Goretti, was highly regarded by girls and young women at one time.  Two other virgin martyrs from the 20th century come to mind, Pierina Morosini and Antonia Mesina:

In 1957, 26 year old Pierina Morosini was murdered while returning home from her job in a factory. Her attacker attempted to seduce her, as she fought to refuse his advances, he beat her to death with a large stone, crushing her face. Blessed Pierina is today venerated as the patron of rape victims, as well as a martyr for chastity.  She was also at the canonization of Maria Goretti.
Born into a poor family of eight children in 1931 in the Diocese of Bergamo, Italy, Pierina at one time desired to enter religious life but remained a lay woman consecrated to God by a private vow of chastity. She remained with her family offering support to her mother, while teaching catechism in her parish. Trained as a seamstress, Pierina began to work in a factory at age 15. On October 4, 1987, John Paul II beatified Pierina along with another Italian martyr for purity,Antonia Mesina , a 16 year old Sardinian murdered by a teenage rapist in 1935.
Antonia and her friend Annette were gathering wood, when she was attacked by an older boy. Her friend escaped and ran for help, while the assailant repeatedly assaulted Antonia, finally killing her. The young girl had 74 wounds and was declared a martyr of chastity. Her murderer confessed and repented before his execution in 1937.

A short list:

Pierina Morosini, lay woman, (+ Fiobbo di Albino, Bergamo, 1957), aged 26. She was attacked by a man who stoned her to death for refusing to comply with his evil desires. She was unconscious and died two days later in hospital. [4. October 1987].

Antonia Mesina, lay woman (+ Orgosolo, Nuoro 1935). At the age of 16, while gathering wood, she was killed by a prowler who tried to rape her. [4. October 1987).

Karolina Kozka, Lay woman, Polish (Wal Ruda, Poland, 1914), killed by a Russian soldier at the age of 17, while defending her virginity, . [10. June 1987 in Tarnow].

St. Maria Goretti died defending her virginity.  So did these young women.  So did St. Agnes and the many virgin martyrs in ancient times.  Don't shortchange their sacrifice.


  1. It's certainly wrong to short-change the sacrifice, and I think I'm beginning to understand it in terms of heroic, extraordinary virtue.

    What I don't understand is how it doesn't imply that succumbing to rape out of fear for one's life is like succumbing to sin/succumbing to temptation - i.e. it's a failure to do the right thing.

    I *think* victims should resist as far as is reasonably possible, just like we are to resist material cooperation with sin as far as reasonably possible, but that choosing to go so far as to sacrifice one's life is a heroic and saintly witness to the virtue of chastity, much like selling everything one has and giving it to the poor is a heroic witness to poverty of spirit, but not required or even recommended for everyone. Am I making any sense?

    As for Simcha Fisher, is imagine she's had to deal with victim-blaming and outright misogyny from busybody Catholics, who are legion online. I think her intentions are good, but she's watering it down so much as to do an injustice to these saints.

  2. You make perfect sense - it is common sense. The saints are exemplary models and intercessors.

    As for Fisher - she's fine - she and a few other bloggers become so emphatic about stuff - such authorities on all things Catholic - it gets a bit over-done. Catholic apologists online are very overrated and opinionated. Even some of the pros - for instance a canon lawyer may present a canonical definition, but it may not even be grounds for a case - and in the event it is - it still must be adjudicated. Know what I'm saying?

    Patheos or any other blogging group is not magisterium - in fact - it would be much better apologetics if indeed they quoted magisterial teaching.

    There is a lot of bull shit online used to make a point or rile the trads. It's fine to do that - just be honest about it and don't claim to be clearing up Church teaching.

    To answer your other question - Maria Goretti was probably too busy helping with chores and raising the family with her mom to worry about or anticipate marriage. Virginity was a holy virtue in those days, her mother inculcated a devotion to chastity in her daughter.

    In our culture virginity is a joke, high school girls call one another slut and whore and rap songs extol unchaste behavior with 'bitches' and 'ho's'. Simcha Fisher and friends know that.

  3. "In 1957, 26 year old Pierina Morosini was murdered while returning home from her job in a factory. Her attacker attempted to seduce her..."
    Rape has nothing to do with seduction - it's evil and violent. Seduction implies at least a little bit of a positive response by the party being wooed. This is why I don't like virgin martyr stories - I don't like how they are written!

  4. To answer your other question - Maria Goretti was probably too busy helping with chores and raising the family with her mom to worry about or anticipate marriage.

    However, since Alessandro was an orphan, basically, he was sometimes present these times.


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