Blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira: 30 Years of Martyrdom (1993-2023)

On April 9, 1993, the Company of the Daughters of Charity present in the Province of Recife, specifically in Salvador da Bahia, was surprised by an event that would change its life, its history, and even its understanding of the service of Persons who are poor, the Charism of its Founders St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.

With the offering of her life, Sister Lindalva assumed with great zeal and dedication the care of persons who are poor entrusted to her at the Dom Pedro II Shelter in Salvador, Bahia and gave witness to the ultimate consequence of her love for the Lord.  Solid in Vincentian virtues, she always manifested the spirit of belonging to the Company, rooted in the Charism she embraced.

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of her martyrdom, the Recife Province, in union with the Archdiocese of Salvador da Bahia, drew up a Mission-Project to increase devotion to Blessed Lindalva. The opening took place at the Provincial House of Nossa Senhora das Graças, Recife – PE with the presence of all Sister Servants who have already planned with their respective Community a celebrative itinerary with diverse activities. In Salvador these activities began with the organization of a pilgrimage with a second degree relic which covered the whole Archdiocesan territory, divided into 12 Foranias.

The culmination of the Jubilee took place in Salvador on April 15, 2023 with a program that included an intense participation of faithful and devotees from various places, including a large caravan from the birthplace of Blessed Lindalva.  Three of her blood brothers were present in the caravan. In the morning a Holy Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of São Salvador da Bahia, presided by Cardinal Dom Sergio da Rocha, Archbishop of Brazil and concelebrated by several Bishops and Priests from other dioceses. In his homily, the Cardinal highlighted some important features of the testimony of Blessed Lindalva: she was recognized for living the commandment of love as a Sister and as a Daughter of Charity. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another as I have loved you,” said Jesus. These words echoed in Sister Lindalva’s heart and was witnessed in her generous service to her brothers and sisters. She died wearing the garment of the washing of the feet, the apron, putting into practice the lesson that Jesus left us at the Last Supper and on the altar of the Cross. Her life was given like a grain of wheat that is consumed in order to germinate. Sister Lindalva’s martyrdom is an extraordinary sign of her faith in Jesus and of her fidelity to the vocation to which she was called and to the mission entrusted to her. By her martyrdom, she resembled the crucified Jesus who was faithful to the Father until the end, fulfilling his mission. She was faithful to Jesus, she was faithful to her vocation and mission, remaining in chastity and charity. The world today needs people willing to live charity and chastity; it needs chaste people to be able to love and serve; it needs people able to love as Jesus loved and taught us to love. That is why Sister Lindalva is recognized by the Church as Blessed Lindalva, as happy Lindalva. Yes, she who can live with Christ and like Christ is happy. Blessed is she who can die with Christ and like Christ.*

Sister Alessandra Sousa Oliveira, Daughter of Charity, presented the theme: “Beautiful Dawn in the blue habit of a Daughter of Charity, now whitened in the blood of the Lamb, which is mixed with her blood.”

The whole program was carried out in an atmosphere of faith, devotion and great hope of her canonization, even though we know that her martyrdom has already made her a Saint, as witnessed by Dr Iraci Gomes Bonfim from the Medico-Legal Institute who looked after Sister Lindalva on the day of her martyrdom: “Like a bride who needs special attention on her wedding day, this is how I saw Sister Lindalva who was going to a perfect wedding. concluding her work with the sacrifice of her own life for others.” 

May Blessed Lindalva inspire us in our daily mission, to respond courageously to the calls that the Lord makes!

Sister Maria de Fatima do Nascimento

*Excerpt from the homily of Dom Lucas Moreira Neves, then Cardinal of Brazil, who throughout these 30 years has helped us to see with a spirit of faith the transformation of a tragedy into an undeniable testimony of love, martyrdom.

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