Father Emanoel Bedê, CM, explains the importance of her example for the Vincentian Family.
The Servant of God, Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos, will be beatified on December 10, 2022 in Barbacena, Minas Gerais (Brazil). This solemn celebration will be presided by the Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro. In a letter addressed to Archbishop Airton Jose Santos, this date, awaited with great expectation by the whole Vincentian Family, was confirmed by Paolo Vilotta, postulator of the cause for beatification.
Father Emanoel Bedê Bertunes, CM, spiritual advisor to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, reminds us that during the second and third centuries Tertullian spoke about the martyrs and stated: the blood of the martyrs is the seed for new Christians. Father Emanoel highlights the fact that this is the genuine source of the spirituality of the martyrdom. Below Father comments on the significance of the beatification of Isabel Cristina for the Vincentian Family and outlines (in five points) the importance of this special event.
- We can be certain that by following and serving Christ, the evangelizer of the poor, we will attain holiness. … furthermore, the witness of life and the living of Christian values provides a foundation to this holiness (we see this in the life of Isabel Cristina).
- Vincentian spirituality, the fountain from which Isabel Christina was nourished, constitutes the fruitful path of this journey toward holiness which we so earnestly desire … that is, Isabel Cristina lived this spirituality through service on behalf of those men and women who were most poor. Therefore, her whole life was inspired by and oriented toward this service. This is also the same fountain that motivates us to followi Jesus.
- this Vincentian spirituality provided Isabel Cristina with the courage to live and give witness to those values that identified her with Christ … and living those values in a radical and faithful manner, she handed over her life.
- we rejoice in the fact that the Vincentian ideal of service on behalf of those men and women who are most poor continues to satisfy our thirst, cleanse our soul, and fill us with those Vincentian principles that guide us and inspire us follow Christ, the evangelizer of the poor.
- this spiritual treasure, which we do not preserve for ourselves but rather share with future generations, continues to guide the life of many saints and blessed of the Vincentian Family. This spiritual treasure has been entrusted to us by Saint Vincent de Paul and continues to be life-giving, fruitful and relevant to many individuals who desire to clothe themselves in this holiness … Isabel Cristina is a living example to all of this.
Some information about the life of the Servant of God, Isabel Cristina
Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos was born on July 29, 1962 in Barbacena. She is the daughter of José Mendes Campos and Helena Mrad Campos. With a desire to study medicine, she moved, in 1982, to Juiz de Fora (MG) where she took a pre-university course.
Like many other young women she studied, went out, participated in celebrations. She was also a woman of prayer and dreamt of being a pediatrician which would allow her to help children in need. She was sensitive to the needs of the poor, the elderly and children (something that she acquired from her family who were members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. At that time her father was the president of the Central Council of Barbacena.
On September 1, 1962, a man, who was helping her move some furniture into her apartment, attempted to rape her. She resisted his attach but was struck with a chair, tied up, bitten and stripped of her clothing. Still she resisted and as a result she was stabbed some fifteen times.
Process of Beatification
The process of Isabel’s beatification began in 2001 in Barbacena. At that time, she was given the honor of being referred to as Servant of God”. This process continued for eight years and almost sixty individuals testified about her holiness and about work as a member of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Society, providing assistance to people who were poor and in need.
In October 2020, Pope Francis published the decree of martyrdom on behalf of this young woman who was murdered at the age of 20 resisting an individual who attempted to rape her.
Her tomb, located in the parish of Nuestra Señora de la Piedad (Our Lady of Mercy) in Barbacena, is visited by the faithful who journey there to offer prayers and give thanks.
Because Isabel is recognized as a martyr, there is no need for a miracle in order for her to be beatified.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we adore you and we bless you for the strength and the courage that you give to so many of your children, so many generous individuals who inspire us with their example.
May the most Blessed Trinity be praised in the person of the Servant of God, Isabel Cristina, who gave her life defending her purity and virginity. Give us the grace to imitate her and, if it is your will, grant her the honor of being raised up on high as a reward for her offering. Amen!