The Holy See
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São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2007


It has truly been a great joy to me to be able to preside in the name of the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the solemn rite for the Beatification of Sr Lindalva, who is the first Brazilian Daughter of Charity to be raised to the honours of the altar.

I am eager to rejoice with the Church of God in São Salvador da Bahia, with the Daughters of Charity from the six Brazilian Provinces and with all the People of God. In this young Religious of our time they will feel a strong sense of belonging, since she was one of them. She lived in a slum in Northeast Brazil as part of a large, poor family, and her mother is here with us today. She is a martyr of our time to be held up as an example, especially to young people, for the witness she bore to simplicity, purity and the joy of living, of giving herself to Christ.

In an important chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI underlined the fundamental connection between the celebration of the Divine Mysteries and witness of life, between the experience of encountering the Mystery of God, a source of wonder and inner joy, and the dynamism of a renewed commitment that leads us precisely to be "witnesses of his love". Today, Bl. Lindalva makes us more convinced than ever that the consistent and luminous witness of believers is itself "the means by which the truth of God's love comes to men and women in history, inviting them to accept freely this radical newness" (Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 85).

Thus, the full force of Benedict XVI's recent recommendation resounds: we must realize that it is ever more necessary "to repropose the example of the Christian Martyrs, both from ages past and from our own times, whose life and witness, culminated in the outpouring of blood, manifest the love of God in a supreme way" (Message to the Pontifical Academies' 12th Public Session, 8 November, 2007; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 21 November, p. 4).

With her Beatification today the Church has consecrated the bloody sacrifice of Sr Lindalva, who we can be certain will now be able to intercede for us who can follow her together with St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac in the footsteps of Christ, in order to make our own the reference to the essential values of being Christian and consecrated: absolute and consistent love for Christ and his Gospel, the preferential charismatic option for the poorest people of this earth, prayer as a fruitful, hidden root of our actions, the optimism of hope, joy and the spontaneous delight that should always accompany our witness in the world.

To someone who asked her the secret of such joy, Bl. Lindalva one day answered: "My heart is mine and can suffer, but my face belongs to others and must be smiling".

I wish for all and invoke from the Lord for everyone that joyous vitality which she transmitted to others, which is a most beautiful legacy of Bl. Lindalva and her devotees, and may they be able to involve those who are beside them so that they may be deeply rooted at the foot of the Crucified and Risen One, knowing well that as children of God we are all called to become holy and that the path of holiness is a path of freedom for everyone.

With deep veneration I am now pleased to impart the paternal and Apostolic Blessing of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, so that it may accompany you all on this exalting and demanding journey towards holiness.