Galvão de França, Antônio de Sant’ana, Bl.
GALVÃO DE FRANÇA, ANTÔNIO DE SANT’ANA, BL.
Franciscan priest; founder; b. 1739, Guaratinguetá, São Paulo, Brazil; d. Dec. 23, 1822, São Paulo. Antonio's socially prominent, devout father encouraged his son's religious vocation by sending him to study at the Jesuit seminary of Belém (1752–56). Eventually, Antonio entered the novitiate of the Alcantarine Franciscans at Macacu near Rio de Janeiro (1760), professed his solemn vows (1761), and was ordained priest (1762). Upon completing his studies (1768), he was appointed porter at St. Francis Friary in São Paulo and engaged in priestly ministry. While serving as chaplain to the Recollects of St. Teresa (1769–70), Father Galvão met the mystic Sister Helena Maria Espirito Santo. With her he founded the convent of Our Lady of the Conception of the Divine Providence in 1774, a women's religious community that initially required no vows. Following Helena's death (1775), he continued to nurture the community—the Recolhimento de Nossa Senhora da Luz (Recollects of Our Lady of Light)—by writing its rule, ensuring the completion of its convent and church (dedicated in 1802), and guiding its incorporation into the Order of the Immaculate Conception (1929). In addition to this work, Galvão served as novice master in Macacu (1781), guardian of St. Francis Friary in São Paulo (1798, 1801), definitor (1802), visitator general, and chapter president (1808); he founded St. Clara Friary in Sorocaba (1811). Above all, he responded to his religious vocation by caring for the poor, sick, afflicted, and enslaved. In his declining years the priest lived at the Recolhimento da Luz, where his mortal remains are enshrined in its church. On March 8, 1997, he was declared venerable. He became the first native Brazilian beatus when he was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 25, 1998.
Feast: Oct. 25.
Bibliography: c. e. marcondes de moura, Os Galvao de França no povoamento de Santo Antonio de Guaratinguetá (Sao Paulo 1993). v. willeke, Franciscanos na história do Brasil (Petrópolis, Brazil 1977). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed., no. 43 (1998): 3.
[k. i. rabenstein]