ALEXANDRINA AND THE HOLY CROSS OF BALASAR - II
report of the Parish Priest
obliged us to interrupt what we had begun in March – a short study of
the Holy Cross of Balasar, a phenomenon which still continues today.
report on the appearance of the Holy Cross, sent by the Parish Priest of
Balasar to the ecclesiastical authority of the Archdiocese, is dated 6
August 1832. This date is less than two months after the event, which
took place on 21 June, the feast of Corpus Christi that year. The
contents of the report were later confirmed by independent reports
submitted by the Parish Priests of Gondifelos and Macieira. So we are
talking here of well documented facts, not of hearsay or legend.
also to be noted that Portugal, which had already been through a long
period of political disturbance, faced imminent civil war. Mindelo’s
landing was on 8 of July of that year, and the liberal victory of 1834
would have terrible consequences for the Church. In this context, the
appearance of the cross was an incitement to faith and to hope, and this
message was not lost on the people.
Parish Priest, António José de Azevedo, author of the report, left
Balasar in the following year. His successor was "banished on 1834, due
to having received favours during the usurpation but was reinstated
later, in 1841", as the priest Domingos da Soledade Silos, a staunch
partisan of the new political orientation, informs us. Violence had
been very common, Bernadina Rosa Costa, a devotee of the Holy Cross of
Balasar wrote, concerning Touguinhó’s Parish Priest.
the report of the Parish Priest António José de Azevedo, which is
transcribed below, is shown here in facsimile of a copy of 1834 which is
preserved in the parochial office of Balasar:
Most Excellent and Reverend Lordship,
write to advise you of an inexplicable occurrence in this Parish of
Saint Eulale of Balasar. Last Corpus Christi, while the people coming to
the morning Mass were passing the road which crosses the little hill of
Calvary, they noticed a cross laid out on the ground. The earth which
formed this cross was of a lighter colour than the surrounding soil. Dew
had fallen all around, except on the cross. I myself went to brush away
the dust and loose earth that formed the cross, but the design
reappeared in the same place. I then ordered a considerable quantity of
water to be poured over it and on the surrounding ground. But after this
had drained away, the cross reappeared once more and has remained there
staff of this cross measures fifteen hands and the traverse measures
eight hands. On rainy days the cross can be clearly seen at any hour and
during good weather the cross is perfectly visible from early morning
until nine o’clock, and in afternoon, when the Sun is sinking in the
west. During the daylight hours it is not so easy to discern.
the news of the appearance of this cross began to spread people started
to travel to see and to venerate it; they decorated it with flowers and
left alms. It is told that some people having through it asked for the
aid of God in their needs and that their requests were granted.
Instances were reported of sick animals being healed, also animals who
had been lost or stolen were recovered in ways that seemed miraculous.
Some people who had suffered for years from diseases were restored to
health in a few days. A woman of Apúlia parish who had a cripple
finger, touched the Cross with it and was suddenly healed so that she
was able to move the finger with the same ease as she could move the
others of the same hand. I did not witness this myself, but it was
witnessed by trustworthy people, who testified to what they had seen.
Devotion to the cross has become so popular that on Sundays and Holy
Days people from distant areas walk here on pilgrimage to see and
venerate it. When they arrive they circle it on their knees. Many leave
alms before they depart and I have appointed an honest man to look after
of my parishioners now want to use the alms money to construct a sort of
chapel at the site of the cross, to cover it with wood and also to have
it surrounded with a wooden frame for protection from the elements and,
inside and opposite the earth cross, to erect a wooden cross, with the
Image of Crucified Jesus painted on it.
not wish to agree to this without advising Your Excellency on the
phenomenon, or to undertake the work without Your Excellency’s
permission, being conscious that neither I nor the parishioners have
authority to use the alms-money at will. Anyway, there are insufficient
funds to construct the sort of edifice the site calls for. I would be
obliged if Your Excellency would express you judgement on this matter
and advise what measures I should take.
Eulale of Balasar, 6 August 1832.
Excellency’s the most humble servant,
António José de Azevedo
António José de Azevedo acted in this matter with eminent good-sense,
particularly if we take into account the political climate that cast a
dark shadow even over the Archdiocese: He showed neither hasty
enthusiasm nor stubborn disbelief. Facts are facts, he seems to say to
the archiepiscopal authority and his pragmatic attitude still speaks to
finish, let’s recall this quotation which we printed on these pages in
century ago I showed the cross to this beloved village, the cross which
comes to await the victim. O Balasar, if you do not respond! Cross of
earth for the victim who was taken from nothing. Victim who is welcomed
by God and who has always existed in His eternal designs. Victim of the
world, but much favoured by heavenly blessings, who has given all to
Heaven, and for the love of souls, accepts all.
Alexandrina’s life was foreseen long before she came to live it. Once
Jesus said to her, if I’m not mistaken, that He foresaw her life when He
hung in agony on the Cross...