The Pope praises the exemplary nature of Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos

In Barbacena, in the Brazilian Archdiocese of Mariana, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis beatified Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos, a young woman murdered in 1982 because of her faith, by a man who tried to abuse her. “May his heroic example inspire young people in particular to give generous witness to their faith and their adherence to the Gospel,” hoped the Pope this Sunday.

Vatican News

This Sunday, after the Angelus prayer, the Pope evoked the memory of this young woman in 1982 at the age of 20, in hatred of the faith, “for having defended her dignity as a woman and the value of chastity”. He said he hopedmay his heroic example inspire young people in particular to give generous witness to their faith and adherence to the Gospel”.

In October 2020, Pope Francis had recognized the martyrdom of the young woman but, due to the pandemic, it was not possible to celebrate her beatification earlier. The ceremony finally took place yesterday in Barbacena, in the Archdiocese of Mariana, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy. Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos was beatified by Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis. The Brazilian prelate raised to the honors of the altars the Virgin and Martyr of the State of Minas Gerais.

A life between study and prayer

Born into a modest family, Isabel attended the parish church from an early age. She was part of the youth group of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, where a spiritual director transmitted to her the spirituality of the Cursilhos de Cristanidade and the Vincentians. She also frequented the monastery of the Visitation, practiced family prayer, went to confession regularly and participated in the campaigns organized by the Vincentians. Her dream was to become a pediatrician. At the end of her school career, on December 8, 1980, she obtained her professional qualification diploma. She then moved to Juiz de Fora (Brazil) to begin her medical studies. She moved in with her brother in a house bought by the family. On the evening of September 1, 1982, her brother returned home to find her lifeless, with signs of attempted sexual violence. She was 20 years old. A man, Maurílio Almeida Oliveira, was found guilty of the murder. According to the inquest, he went to Isabel’s home and, after turning up the volume on the television, attempted to rape her. According to the autopsy, she resisted this aggression, keeping her virginity intact. The defendant was sentenced to 19 years in prison. Maurílio Almeida Oliveira has always denied being the author of the murder. After several years of imprisonment, he escaped from prison and remained a fugitive. Some relatives say he is dead.

The body dies, not the soul

With regard to martyrdom, the process of beatification and canonization established that the attack was not an impulsive criminal act of the murderer but that the latter acted according to a predetermined plan which had to be correlated with the faith of the victim. . The reputation of the young woman as a martyr immediately spread.

In his homily, Cardinal Damasceno Assis quoted the words of Jesus in the Gospel, in particular the reference to Matthew 10, 28, when he said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body without being able to kill the soul”. And he recalled that, as Tertullian said, the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians. The prelate also called for an end to all violence against women in the world.

The Pope praises the exemplary nature of Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos – Vatican News