The blessed who influenced the pope to consecrate the world to Mary during World War II

Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar | Hogar de la Madre

Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar influenced Venerable Pius XII to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942.

On March 25, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the request of the Latin Rite bishops of Ukraine in wake of the Russian invasion of the country Feb. 24.

An excerpt from the book "Blessed Alexandrina, a living miracle of the Eucharist" by Kevin Rowles says that the blessed was one of the "great Catholic mystics of modern times."

Alexandrina was born in Balazar, fewer than 20 miles southwest of Braga, on March 30, 1904 and was raised in the Catholic faith. In her 20s she became bedridden after being injured while escaping from an attacker. On April 14, 1925 Alexandrina was laid in bed, completely paralyzed, not to get up for the remaining 30 years of her life.

As soon as she realized that suffering was her calling, she embraced it. She would say: “Our Lady has granted me an even greater grace. First resignation, then complete conformity to the will of God, and finally the desire to suffer.”

In 1936, as requested by Christ, she asked the Roman Pontiff, through Father Marian Pinho, her spiritual director, to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This plea was renewed several times until 1941, causing the Vatican to question the Archbishop of Braga about Alexandrina on three occasions.

On Oct. 31, 1942, Venerable Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a message transmitted to Fatima in Portuguese. This act was renewed in Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica Dec. 8 that year.

Alexandrina's life has many connections with the events of Our Lady of Fatima and she is known in Portugal as "the fourth seer of Fatima". She urged everyone on more than one occasion to "do penance, sin no more, pray the rosary, receive the Eucharist."

From Friday, Oct. 3, 1938, to March 24, 1942, she experienced the sufferings of the Passion every Friday.

Beginning March 27, 1942, Alexandrina stopped eating, and during the last 13 years of her life she lived on the Eucharist alone. In 1943, for 40 days and 40 nights, her total fasting and anuria were strictly controlled by doctors at the Foz do Douro hospital near Porto.

In 1944, her new spiritual director, Father Umberto Pasquale, encouraged Alexandrina to join the Association of Salesian Cooperators.

On Oct. 12, 1955, she received the Anointing of the Sick, and she died at 7:30 p.m. the next day.

Alexandrina was beatified by Saint John Paul II on April 25, 2004 and has been proposed by the Church as a "model of purity and perseverance in faith for today's youth."

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