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The Catholic Defender: Saint Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão

May 13, 1739 – December 23, 1822), was a Brazilianfriar of the Franciscan Order. One of the best-known religious figures in colonial Brazil, renowned for his healing powers.

God’s plan in a person’s life often takes unexpected turns which become life-giving through cooperation with God’s grace.

Born in Guarantingueta near São Paulo, Antônio attended the Jesuit seminary in Belem, but later decided to become a Franciscan friar. Invested in 1760, he made final profession the following year and was ordained in 1762.

Galvão was a man of great and intense prayer, and mystic phenomena attributed to him include telepathy, premonition and levitation.He was reportedly in two different places at the same time in order to take care of sick or dying people who had asked for his help

In São Paulo, he served as preacher, confessor, and porter. Within a few years, Antônio was appointed confessor to the Recollects of Saint Teresa, a group of nuns in that city. He and Sister Helena Maria of the Holy Spirit founded a new community of sisters under the patronage of Our Lady of the Conception of Divine Providence. Sister Helena Maria’s premature death the next year left Father Antônio responsible for the new congregation, especially for building a convent and church adequate for their growing numbers.

He served as novice master for the friars in Macacu and as guardian of St. Francis Friary in São Paulo. He founded St. Clare Friary in Sorocaba. With the permission of his provincial and the bishop, Antônio spent his last days at the Recolhimento de Nossa Senhora da Luz, the convent of the sisters’ congregation he had helped establish.

Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão was beatified in Rome on October 25, 1998, and canonized in 2007.

Holy women and men cannot help calling our attention to God, to God’s creation, and to all the people whom God loves. The lives of holy people are so oriented toward God that this has become their definition of “normal.” Do people see my life or yours as a living sign of God’s steadfast love? What might have to change for that to happen?

Galvão was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on May 11, 2007, becoming the first Brazilian-born saint.

According to the Catholic Church, the cases of Sandra Grossi de Almeida and Daniella Cristina da Silva are miracles effected through the prayers of Galvão. After taking one of the paper pills, Almeida, who had a uterine malformation that should have made it impossible for her to carry a child for more than four months, gave birth to baby boy Enzo.Galvão's pills are also certified by the church with the healing, in 1990, of Daniella Cristina da Silva, a four-year-old girl suffering from what doctors considered incurable hepatitis. Doctors, and some Catholic clergy, have dismissed the pills as placebos. The church recommends that only terminally ill patients take the pills.


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