Tomb of popular saint attracts devotees in Ponta Grossa
Corina Portugal is considered a popular saint, even though she is not formally recognized by the church. Her tomb is in the São José Municipal Cemetery, in Ponta Grossa, in Campos Gerais do Paraná, and attracts devotees due to her reputation for responding to the requests of the faithful. See images above.
The prayers are directed to the young woman murdered at the age of 20, a victim of feminicide – when the crime was still far from being called that way.
Corina is considered the first victim of domestic violence whose case had repercussions in the city and the region. Historical records mention that she was murdered by her husband with 32 stab wounds in 1889. Learn more about her story below.
The young woman’s case is so representative that the shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence and their dependents in Ponta Grossa is called Casa de Acolhimento Corina Portugal.
Tributes show popular devotion
The tomb of “Santinha dos Campos Gerais”, as she is popularly known, stands out for the number of tributes.
At the site you can see flowers, ribbons and more than 200 plaques of gratitude for “graces received”.
The tomb is simple and has space for just one body. There are no pieces of marble or tiles, like in the others. The only covered parts are those intended for placing candles lit by devotees.
The color of the tomb may be different with each visit, as the structure is frequently painted by the faithful.
There are no tombstones on the structure, like those that display messages from family members.
Instead, there is a small panel with her name, dates of birth and death and a drawing of the young woman. In the background, a photo of Rio de Janeiro, the city where she was born.
At the bottom, a phrase that shows popular devotion: “An angel of Light granting miracles and bringing hope”. Look:
A prayer created by believers is also fixed to the structure. In the introduction, the text encourages intercession for the popular saint:
“If you are a mother, wife, daughter, who faces difficult problems at home, in your relationship with your husband, partner or boyfriend; if you are out of work, taking exams or competitions; if you are the target of slander by malicious people, Do not get discouraged or passively accept this entire state of affairs. Invoke the intercession of the gentle and always attentive CORINA PORTUGAL, who was an innocent martyr, sacrificed for the insanity of her husband and the subject of derision in a hypocritical society. Pray, asking for her help. “
The story of Corina Portugal
Corina Antonieta Portugal was born in the city of Rio de Janeiro on January 18, 1869.
At the age of 14, she married pharmacist Alfredo Marques de Campos, a man eleven years older than her. The couple went to live in Realengo, still in Rio de Janeiro.
In 1888, they moved to Ponta Grossa, with the help of a doctor friend of the family, called João de Menezes Dória.
“Alfredo got involved in gambling and drank a lot. He lived with whore women up and down, and Corina stayed at home. She was beaten by him, she was beaten a lot; once she was pregnant, he hit her and she lost the baby”, says historian Josué Corrêa Fernandes, author of the book Corina Portugal: História de Sangue e Luz.
Corina even wrote letters asking for help to her father, who continued to live in Rio de Janeiro:
“Dad… I’ve been suffering a lot for three years, without ever complaining. But I’m already tired and the [Alfredo] Campos gets worse and worse, he promised to kill me. I can’t continue in this hell any longer.
Ponta Grossa, 12/20/1888″
According to the story cited in the book by the historian, Alfredo used the intimacy created between Corina and the doctor João de Menezes Dória to accuse her of adultery.
On the night of April 24, 1889, Corina was killed with around 30 stab wounds.
Alfredo was acquitted for using supposed adultery as justification for the crime – which, at the time, was legally accepted.
The case divided opinions in the city, which heard Alfredo’s version and Corina’s father’s reports about the young woman’s complaints regarding the attacks she had been suffering.
Corina Portugal is not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
“It’s just popular devotion. On the part of the Diocese of Ponta Grossa, there was, at no time, a search to investigate or propose this devotion”, informs the institution’s advisors.
In an article published in the Brazilian Journal of History of Religions, historian Maura Regina Petruski states that the reports of miracles that were promoted by Corina began with a woman named Maria who was also attacked by her husband.
“[Maria] He went to pray at Corina’s tomb for her marital life, asking for her intercession so that her husband could change his behavior. The day after her visit to Campo Santo, her husband stopped drinking and became a good man. After this fact was publicized and with the statements surrounding her husband’s change in behavior, several women who were going through similar situations began to visit this tomb in search of help,” she explains.
The reports of employees during the transfer of Corina’s body between cemeteries further strengthened the construction of the young woman’s “sanctification”, explains Maura.
The incident occurred years after the young woman’s burial, but the date is not specified.
“The men said that, when they opened Corina’s tomb, they found an intact body, a shining face, a white and serene countenance like that of a saint. The scare was so great that the workers went to call the priest from the main church to show him the body. The parish priest asked them to remain silent because of what they saw, as a way of no longer promoting the belief of a saint that was being built around the deceased, however, this did not happen”, highlights the historian.
To get to Corina Portugal’s tomb, simply enter the São José Municipal Cemetery via the Largo Professor Colares access, turn left in the first row and then right after the first block.
The cemetery is open daily from 8am to 5pm.