Fr Pinho wrote in No Calvário de
Balasar (Ch 15):
1938 Alexandrina started to live in an almost habitual state of terror,
abandonment, oppression and agony, what we might call a prolonged Gethsemane.
there were long hours, and finally entire nights, of indescribable anguish. The
Lord showed her at the same time the great punishments that would fall on the
earth. (World War II was to be the next).
In the Autobiography we read:
From that time I began to feel
great agonies in my soul and throughout this anguish it almost seemed that I was
falling into frightful abysses. The justice of the Eternal Father felt upon me!
(A, p. 45)
The victim soul continues, in
time, the mission of Christ’s redemption. Like Christ, therefore, she feels the
sins for which she must atone hanging over her, and also, as a consequence, the
rigours of divine justice.
When somebody suffers like this
the conviction that such suffering is advantageous to the salvation of souls,
provides little comfort. But much more atrocious is the suffering of feeling
oneself identified with the sinner, and therefore the object of God’s anger! And
Satan isn’t shy about making his presence felt! We know that because of the way
Jesus was tempted during the agony in the Garden. Alexandrina was strongly
tempted to suicide:
(...) to end
my life, cost what it may. To drown myself, to put my head under a train; in the
end, I imagined that my life was insupportable. C (17-9-38)
However, all the terrors of the
victim state, the anguish, the darkness, do not stifle the love of the
Alexandrina for her Jesus. On the contrary, this love burns even more ardent,
more luminous, more heroically generous, as is attested to in many of her
letters to her director.
I pass the
days the most holy will of my loved Jesus would have me pass them (...) To love
Him until dying of love. C (4-2-38)
When I feel
a surge of desire to love Our Lord, it seems me that I go up to Heaven faster
than a rocket. C (11-7-38)
Oh my Jesus,
I want to die incinerated in your love. Give me the strength to follow You on
the cross and to live with You in the Blessed Eucharist. C (16-7-38)
“To follow You on the cross and
to live with You in the Blessed Eucharist” are two aspirations that dictate her
whole life and will fulfil it.
The 3rd October
During the night of 2/3
October, if the agony of my soul was great, so also was the suffering of my
body. I started to vomit blood and to felt horrible pains. I continued vomiting
and, for five consecutive days, I took no food. It was in the midst of this
suffering that I took part in the crucifixion for the first time. (She calls her
reliving of the Passion, “crucifixion”). What a horror I felt in me! What fear
and terror! … (A, p. 46)
Fr Pinho (who was present by
divine dispensation) remembered the morning of 3rd October:
After Holy Communion, she
endured great mystical afflictions during which she saw herself with Christ in
Gethsemane. He again extended an invitation:
— Do you
accept, my daughter, a Calvary that I only give to my most beloved spouses?
And, when He heard the generous ‘yes’ repeated, Jesus announced to her, as He
had the evening before, that after midday her passion would begin. It would take
her from the Gethsemane to Golgotha, and would finish at 3 pm.
would remain with Him in intimate converse, assuaging his pains, until 6 pm. (NoC,
In the Autobiography a final
invitation and a brief description of the Passion can be read.
midday, Our Lord came to invite me thus:
my daughter, Gethsemane is ready and also Golgotha, do you accept?
I felt that
Our Lord followed me for some time on the Calvary road. Later I felt myself
alone, seeing Him on the summit, life-sized, nailed to the cross.
the entire way of Calvary without losing sight of Him… it was when I arrived
next to Him that I had to stop.
I saw St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, twice.
The first time I saw her dressed as nun, between two sisters, at the door of the
Carmel. On the second occasion she was surrounded by roses and wrapped in a
celestial mantle. (A, 46)
During the afternoon of this
memorable day, Alexandrina wrote on the reverse of a holy picture:
Jesus led me
from Gethsemane to Calvary: what a great grace! Now I can say: I am crucified
with Christ. (C G, p. 71)
To be present at that
We read in No Calvário de
Balasar what the few people present had seen: Fr Pinho, Deolinda, perhaps
their mother and someone else…
We who were
present saw the drama of the Passion being relived as much as it was possible
for a human being to relive it: Gethsemane… the arrest… the courts… the
flagellation… the way of Calvary… the Crucifixion…the Death. (...) The stigmata
had remained always invisible, because she had asked Our Lord that there might
be no exterior manifestation. The Passion was very, very violent. Those of us
who were present could not contain our tears before that all too visible
spectacle of pain. (NoC, Ch. 15)
We transcribe some part of what
Deolinda put down in the Diocesan Process:
I arrived at
noon. She had left the bed, we did not know how, but she lay prostrate with her
face on the floor, completely composed. (Summ, pp. 221-223)
As to her getting out of
bed — she who was paralysed — another witness, Dr. Azevedo, her attending
physician, as we will see, stated in the same Process:
that in getting out of the bed, where she was immobilized, she assumed an
attitude of semi-levitation, for which I can find no natural explanation. (Summ,
Deolinda continues, after having
described the phases of the acceptance, of the arrest, of the courts, of the
took the cross. We deduced this from the position she assumed and the sound that
her steps made on the floor. (...) she was bent forward, as one would who takes
the weight of a cross on the back; and her steps were slow. Later, when the
phenomenon was repeated, there were people who tried to lift her off the ground,
but they could not, though she only weighed 33 or 34 kilos. (Summ, pp. 221-223)
On the impossibility of lifting
her when she was under the weight of the Cross, another witness testified:
spiritual director asked her, if she could remember, to enquire of Our Lord why
they could not manage lift her. During the ecstasy that followed the crucifixion
Our Lord answered that the weight of the Cross was the sins of the world, and
that these could not be weighed! (Summ, p. 98).
Of the colloquy with Jesus which
followed this ecstasy, Fr Pinho records some phrases:
How do I love You?
(Alexandrina repeats what she hears Jesus saying as if to ask if she had heard
them correctly. Thus those present, who could not hear the voice of Jesus, could
follow the dialogue.) In the midst of such pain? … Oh Jesus, was it not in the
midst of pain that You also loved me? Surely it was, so how could I not love
You? Oh, how unfair that would be, my Jesus! …
sorry for making me suffer? But I offered myself with all generosity? …
… But Jesus,
I wanted love! Will You not You give it to me, Jesus? Please, give it to me! …
give me more?... I want to die of love!
promise it to me? Do not neglect to fulfil what you promise?
I know it
Am I yours?
Was I always? Then, is that acceptable to you? Is It? Am I your heroine? …
I am all for
You, aren’t I, Jesus? I am the lover who has wasted away, who has lost herself
in the love of Jesus? …
After this 3rd
October Alexandrina would be tormented in all the senses, even in smell. After
that date she had the impression that everything had the smell of a dead dog.
Her sensitivity for sin was so acute that even on simply hearing the word
“sinners” she felt jolted to the point of being twisted with pain. This
debilitating state persisted and was such that, up till 11th November
1938, she could only dictate letters to her director.
The periodic repetition
Alexandrina would relive the
weekly Passion with exterior manifestations, every Friday from midday to 3pm
(except for the day 30-12-38, because unauthorized people were present) until 27
March 1942 also. After March 1942 she would continue to suffer those sufferings
interiorly, not only on Fridays and with augmented spiritual torments, but
without moving herself from the bed. (vide Ch 11)
Descriptions of the enacted
ecstasies can be found in some of Alexandrina’s letters to her director (vide
NoC), in notes assembled by the director himself in 12 notebooks, and in a
detailed description by Fr Terças, an eyewitness of the one of 29th
August 1941 (vide C G, C4 appendix).
References to the feelings
experienced during the last ecstasy constitute the beginning of the daily
Sentimentos da Alma (Feelings of the Soul), dictated to Deolinda, not with
the intention of keeping a diary, but as a form of relief, when she lost her
director who made his last visit on 7th January 1942.
A film was also made. It is kept
in the archives of Balasar.
At that time the liturgical feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux was on 3rd
October; later it was moved to the 1st of the month.
Alexandrina looked upon this saint as her spiritual sister. She will
appear to her at other times, as we shall see.