Spotlight on Spiritual Maternity: Bl. Alexandrina da Costa  

Congregation for the Clergy

A story from the life of Alexandrina da Costa beatified on 25 April 2004, reveals the transforming power and visible effects of the sacrifice made by a sick and forgotten girl.

In 1941, Alexandrina wrote to her spiritual director, Fr. Mariano Pinho, telling him that Jesus told her, “My daughter, a priest living in Lisbon is close to being lost forever; he offends me terribly. Call your spiritual director and ask his permission that I may have you suffer in a special way for this soul.”

Once Alexandrina had received permission from her spiritual director, she suffered greatly. She felt the severity of the priest’s errors, how he wanted to know nothing about God, and was close to self-damnation. She even heard the priest’s full name. Poor Alexandrina experienced the hellish state of this priest’s soul and prayed urgently, “Not to hell, no! I offer myself as a sacrifice for him, as long as you want.”

Fr. Pinho inquired of the Cardinal of Lisbon whether one of the priests of his diocese was of particular concern. The Cardinal openly confirmed that he was, in fact, very worried about one of his priests, and when he mentioned the name of the priest, it was the same one that Jesus had spoken to Alexandrina.

Some months later, a friend of Fr. Pinho, Fr. David Novais, recounted to him an unusual incident. Fr. David had just held a retreat in Fatima where attended a modest gentleman whose exemplary behavior made him pleasantly attractive to all the participants. On the last night of the retreat, this man suddenly had a heart attack. He asked to see a priest, to whom he confessed and received Holy Communion. Shortly thereafter he died, fully reconciled with God. It turned out that this man was actually a priest—the very priest for whom Alexandrina had suffered so greatly.

This testimony first appeared in the 2007 publication Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity, published by the Congregation for the Clergy. Reprinted with permission.