Sister Maria Tecla Medeiros
Sister Maria Tecla Medeiros whose baptismal name is Custodia Pedro Medeiros, was born September 19, 1930 in Meleiro, Araranguá, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Her father João Pedro de Medeiros and her mother Júlia Candida Ana de Medeiros formed a family of 14 children.
Custodia – Sr. M. Tecla – met the SSNDs and entered the congregation on February 06, 1949 in Forquilhinha. Five years later on July 20, 1953 started her Postulancy and in the following year on January 20, she began her novitiate. Her first profession was on January 21, 1955 and on January 21, 1961 she professed her final vows.
Sr. Tecla was known as a joyful and servant person. From 1958 to 1986, Sr. Tecla shared her life and ministry with the community at the São José Hospital, where she was responsible for the laundry of the hospital. Sr. Tecla also dedicated time and studies to take care and promote the health of children in the Pastoral da Criança. In Brazil, Pastoral da Criança is a very important pastoral which helps children who suffer of malnutrition from pregnancy to six years old, including care for the mother. Sr. Tecla worked in the Pastoral da Criança in promoting integral life of children and their families.
With the age of 43, she discovered a cancer – a malignant lymphocytic lymphoma – with metastasis in the lungs and other parts of her body. Sr. Maria Helena Arns, the local leader of her community called Sr. Tecla and said: Your case is very grave, pray the novena of Mother Theresa and wear this relic with faith. Mother Theresa needs to do a miracle. Sr. Tecla with deep faith in God and her devotion in Mother Theresa prayed trusting in God merciful love and believing the interception of Mother Theresa.
Sr. Tecla had surgery and chemotherapy, but not all was finished. She had to have another surgery for a giant follicular lymphoma in on leg. However, the miracle happened on October 07, feast of Our Lady of Rosary, according to Sr. Tecla comments in her personal history. Even though, she had to go through surgeries, chemotherapy and other trials Sr. Tecla never abandoned her faith and confidence in God and in Mother Theresa.
The years after she was missioned to different communities, marked by a simple life style, servant, caring for vegetable and flower gardens. A woman of a positive presence in the community and among people with whom she worked (school, catechesis).
The last years of her life, Sr. Tecla shared a ministry of prayer and presence being a support for the province, congregation and God’s people.
Some of her remarkable words are:
Looking at my life, I am enchanted how God has an extraordinary love for his creatures. I recognize that He leads my life… after the miracle of being cured of the cancer I realize how much I have grown in God’s love, to my brothers and sisters and to our dear foundress Mother Theresa of Jesus. I am very grateful to God for the grace of vocation and faithfulness that is a gift from Him.
Contemplating my personal story and remembering the places where I was I only can sing a hymn of thanksgiving. To all the persons that I met before and after the miracle, I ask you to forgive me for not being witness. I know that I am a clay difficult mold. I ask you to pray for me. I am not worth for the grace of the miracle that god did in my life. The actions of God are not to be explained, they are to be contemplated and accepted with faith. I live a message of love to all persons who knew me, to all who leaved and still leave with me and those who I met…
Sr. Maria Tecla died at the age of 90 years old, November 28, 2020 in Froquilhinha, SC, Brazil.
Translated by Sr. Inês Camiran, SSND
Personal note: In 1983, I had the grace( I was novice) to be present to the trial presented by the canonical lawyer testifying to the miracle Sr. Tecla received. She was well and joyful witnessing this grace in her life.