Tuesday, January 14, 2014


BLESSED ALBERTINA BERKENBROCK was born in São Luís, Brazil. Her grandparents immigrated from  Germany to Brazil and brought with them their three children, one of who was Johann Hermann, who would become Albertina's father. Johann married Elisabeth Schmöller and the couple had nine children. They were a pious farming family that attended church regularly and lived out their faith in their daily lives.

On August 16, 1928, she made her First Communion, an experience she described as the most beautiful day of her life. She also had special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a model of purity and the patron saint of São Luís.

At school Albertina was a model for her peers and a cause of admiration to adults. Her teachers especially praised her spirituality and morals, superior to children of her age. She was a diligent student who knew her Catechism and kept God's Commandments.

At home, when her brothers teased and taunted her, as siblings do, she would not retaliate. With her Christian upbringing, even the childhood games she played reflected her deep religious sense. She played happily with the poorest children and shared her bread with them.

On June 15, 1931 Maneco Palhoça, one of her father's employees, tried to rape her. She fought back but when the attacker realized he would fail and she would identify him, he grasped her by the hair and slit her throat with a knife.  He said he had discovered her body and accused aother man of killing her. But people became suspicious because when Maneco passed through the room where Albertina's body was laid out, witnesses said that every time he approached her body, blood would seep from the gash in her neck.

Finally he was arrested. He confessed to his crime as well as two other murders. He was tried, convicted and given a life sentence. In prison he admitted to his fellow prisoners that he murdered Albertina because she resisted his rape attempts.

Albertina Berkenbrock is considered a martyr in the defense of chastity.

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