Beatification date announced for young martyr known as Brazil’s “Maria Goretti”

Jasjot Singh

The young martyr Isabel Cristina Mrad, known to the faithful as Brazil’s “Maria Goretti” for defending her chastity with her life after an attempted rape, will be beatified in December.

Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos, from Brazil, was murdered at the age of 20 after resisting an attempted rape to preserve her virginity in 1982.

The Archbishop of Mariana (Brazil), Msgr. Airton José dos Santos, announced that on December 10 the prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, in Barbacena, Minas Gerais, will preside at the beatification Mass.

According to the Archdiocese of Mariana in a statement, Msgr. Airton indicated that on June 22, Paolo Vilotta, postulator for the cause of beatification of the Servant of God Isabel Mrad, reported “the day on which, with joy, we will celebrate the day of his beatification.

In the letter, Bishop Airton recalled that although Pope Francis recognized in a decree in October 2020 the martyrdom of the young Brazilian martyr who was murdered for defending her chastity, the coronavirus pandemic prevented “setting the date of this great ecclesial event.” .

Likewise, the Prelate assured the joy of the Church in Brazil for this event, which is added to the forthcoming beatification of the girl Benigna Cardoso da Silva.

“Now we have the joy of preparing for this great celebration that will be full of blessings for the entire Church in Brazil and in particular for our Archdiocese of Mariana,” he said.

On October 24, the beatification Mass of the girl martyr Benigna Cardoso da Silva will be celebrated in the municipality of Crato, state of Ceará (Brazil).

The so-called “heroine of chastity” was murdered at the age of 13 by a schoolmate whom she rejected and who tried to sexually abuse her. Pope Francis recognized her martyrdom in October 2019, but her beatification also had to be postponed due to the pandemic.


Isabel Cristina Mrad was born on July 29, 1962 in Barbacena, Minas Gerais, and was raised by her parents José Mendes Campos and Helena Mrad in a Catholic family.

Isabel used to frequently attend Mass and receive the sacraments. According to the Archdiocese of Mariana, the young woman was particularly “sensitive” to the situation of “the poorest, the elderly and children, something that she certainly learned in her family, which was Vincentian.”

From adolescence, Isabel was part of the volunteer association of the “Conference of San Vicente” and her father was president of the Vincentian Council of Barbacena.

Isabel moved to Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, in 1982, to attend a preparation course to enter the Faculty of Medicine, as she dreamed of becoming a pediatrician to help children in need.

The website noted that in addition to preparing to study, Elizabeth used to pray in the Church of the Cenacle, “where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed.”

She said that that year the young woman had moved with her brother Paulo Roberto to a small apartment and was fixing it up when on September 1, a man who went to put together a wardrobe tried to rape her.

As Isabel resisted to maintain her chastity, the man became aggressive and hit her on the head with a chair, then tied her up, gagged her, ripped her clothes and tortured her. As the young woman resisted to defend her purity, the man stabbed her to death.

During the investigation of the homicide, a carpet soaked in blood was found, and it was discovered that the young woman had received 15 stab wounds: two in her private parts and 13 in her back. The medical examiners confirmed that the murderer did not succeed in raping her.

The Archdiocese of Mariana, to which the city of Barbacena belongs, recalled that “some people had the initiative to request a process for his beatification” and the process began in 2001.

Her tomb is located in the church of Nuestra Señora de la Piedad in Barbacena, where Isabel was baptized and received her First Communion. The temple has become a place of pilgrimage for many faithful in Brazil, who pray before her remains asking for her intercession.

Translated and adapted by Cynthia Pérez. Originally published on ACI Digital.

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