Tres Pontas – Minas Gerais, Brazil (Tuesday, 08/25/2015, Gaudium Press) – The Brazilian priest Father Francisco de Paula Victor will be beatified on November,14, 2015.
The announcement of his beatification was given by the Bishop of Campanha, His Excellency Diamantino Prata de Carvalho, after receiving the “nihil obstat” from the Vatican.
Father Victor was the son of slaves and he is the first Afro Brazilian male to be beatified. Nha Chica, form the same state as Father Victor, black as well, she is also to be beatified by the Catholic Church.
The promulgation of the decree concerning a miracle attributed to Father Victor was authorized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints last June.
Francisco de Paula Victor, was born on April 12, 1827, in the village of Campanha de Princesa (estate of Minas Gerais).
He was the son of a slave named Lourenca Justiniana de Jesus. His baptismal godmother was Marianna Santa Barbara Ferreira, who was the mistress of Lourença.
He studied how to be a tailor but his desire was to be a priest. At the time this was unthinkable. So much so that Father Victor himself heard saying that if he was ordained “the chickens will have teeth.”
Difficulties in the Seminary
The old parish priest of the town of Campanha, Father Antonio Felipe de Araújo, introduce young Victor in his studies and thus he was admitted in the Seminary of Mariana. There he had to endure patiently hostilities and discrimination from his colleagues who treated him as their servant. A seminarian recognized later his merits: “Victor was patient, always patient.” It was because of his humility, his determination and his passionate desire to become a priest that Victor won the sympathy of all.
He was ordained a priest on June 14, 1851. The majority of faithful, however, did not accept that a former slave could be their priest and they even refused to receive communion from him. When he was sent as an auxiliary priest to the parish of Tres Pontas, on June 18, 1852, there was uproar on the part of the population. With humility and patience, the virtues that characterized him very much, and by doing everything just out of a total love for Jesus Christ, Father Victor was able not only to be accepted but even loved by his parishioners. He became the parish priest of Tres Pontas for more than fifty years, and there he died, loved by all, on September 23, 1905.
Father Victor was buried in his parish church. In 1999 the canonical recognition and his remains was performed and they were placed in a new tomb.
He also was an exorcist and the devil never wanted to mention his name. He referred to him as “that ugly black with thick lips.” (JSG)