Blessed Alessandrina Maria da Costa and Gloria Sabang: Was it a miracle?
June 26, 2011 Leave a comment
This is a repost from a Facebook note created by Ate Boots Figuracion, the coordinator of all the Salesian Cooperators in the Philippine Southern Province.
We could see the parallelism made obvious by Ate Boots as she narrates to us the suffering of Mrs. Sabang in connection to the suffering of Blessed Alessandrina Maria da Costa, whom Salesian Cooperators and those aspiring to be (myself included) consider to be a gem of sanctity.
I was fortunate to have celebrated with Mrs. Sabang, her husband Fernando and three others their pronouncement of their promises to live their lives for the young in the heart of Saint John Bosco. That is why on Trinity Sunday, I was shocked when I saw her name enrolled in those whose souls the 6pm Mass that day was offered for.
Today, we will bury her in Mandaue City with the entire Salesian Family. After I write this post, I shall prepare myself to leave for the seminary where we will assemble for our departure to the church where we will have her funeral mass with Novice Master Father Roneldo Vilbar, SDB as presider and homilist. (As of this writing I still do not know where the Missa Requiem will be held.)
Here goes the text (link here for original post) which I will reproduce, thanks to Ate Boots.
The family asked for a miracle, a miracle they have received!
Gloria Sabang, 52 was diagnosed stage four cancer, three weeks after she made her Promise as a Salesian Cooperator. Her condition slowly deteriorated as the family sought all possible means to save her. Despite a very gloomy prognosis, they were hoping for a miracle cure.
A relic of a Salesian Cooperator, Blessed Alessandrina Maria da Costa, was set to go on pilgrimage to all Salesian Cooperators of the FIS Province. This was gift from the Rector Major, Pascual Chavez de Villanueva, entrusted by the former Provincial, Fr Arturo Sanchez, Jr., SDB to the Cooperators. This relic was brought to Gloria with the hope for a miracle that might raise her among the many saints of the Church.
But the ways of the Lord are mysterious. In the presence of her husband, Nanding, and her children, Joan, Louie and Ireen, at about eleven in the morning on June 17, 2011, Gloria was called to return home to the Father. Having noticed of her deteriorating condition, the family called for help as they felt the emptiness and heaviness of heart. Her eldest daughter Joan even wailed loud in sorrow. Yet when the medical team left them, Louie who narrated of his experience said that he felt somewhat dumbstruck. He could not cry or as if somebody or something held him back from crying. Still crying, Joan remarked that the face of her mother changed. She could see the face of Blessed Alessandrina in the face of their mom. This was confirmed by those who were present. She took the clear book containing the pictures of Blessed Cooperator to show the similarity. For about four to five minutes, they have witnessed the transformation of their dead mother into the face of Blessed Alessandrina da Costa. They felt at peace that was confirmed by each them.
Who is this Blessed Alessandrina Maria da Costa?
Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa of Balasar, Portugal (1904 – 1955), one of the great mystics of modern times, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004. A ‘victim soul’, chosen by Christ to suffer in atonement for the sins of humanity, she was bedridden for life from the age of twenty after sustaining injuries while escaping from an attacker. She mystically underwent the Passion of Christ on Fridays and her sufferings helped to shorten World War II. Her astounding life has many connections to the events of Fatima and she is known in Portugal as ‘the fourth seer of Fatima ‘. She urged all to “Do penance, sin no more, pray the Rosary, receive the Eucharist ”. For the last thirteen years of her life she miraculously lived on the Holy Eucharist alone, a medically confirmed fact.
As a Salesian Cooperator, she is a very precious pearl who has enriched the Salesian Family. With her sufferings, she did not feel that she was totally alone after entering in the Salesian Family. She felt that she had help for her climb her painful Calvary. She offered her suffering for the salvation of souls and for the sanctification of youth.
Looking at her certificate of enrolment as a Salesian Cooperator hung on the wall in her room she said, “How many times I look at the certificate and offer my sufferings united to all of you for the salvation of youth. I feel I am in great union with the Salesians with the Cooperators all over the world. I frequently witness my belonging to them and offer my suffering, united with them all, for the salvation of the young! I love the Congregation. I love it very much and I will never forget it in heaven or on earth.”
At the time of her death, Alessandrina suffered extreme pain throughout the whole day, which she bore with great fortitude to the very end. Many have already benefited from the graces won by her sufferings and prayers, and undoubtedly, many more will benefit in the future.
Among them is the Sabang Family. One thing is certain Gloria is now among those privileged to be in the Salesian Garden. She had Blessed Alessandrina escorting her to her final destination. A promise written in her diary goes: For the mission I gave you, for this most important mission, I promise that after your death, not only those sinners who invoke you with confidence, and at your tomb ask for the grace of conversion, be saved, but I also promise that you will come to attend many at death, to assist their passage into eternity.
O Alexandrina my dear Beata, help me!
Obtain for me a capacity to love with more strength,
and to know how to illuminate all my daily activities,
even if painful, with a smile!
May love raise the smile in me.