Early in the morning of December 4, 2014, our Brazilian Sister Luzia Aparecida Daniel, a lifelong ambassador of Gospel joy, completed her amazing eighty year journey home to God. How appropriate was the timing of her departing since throughout her life, and especially in her final days, she embodied the Advent prayer: “My heart seeks your face, O God; come and do not delay.”
On January 1, 1934, Luzia Aparecida Daniel was born in the town of Santa Cruz das Palmeiras, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. She was the only child of her loving parents, Avelino Daniel and Marian de Lima, immigrants from Southern Italy who had arrived in Brazil the previous year. By the time she was four years old, Luzia had lost both of her parents to death. In early childhood, she also lost her eye sight due to a medical error. Orphaned and blind, Luzia became a resident at the Instituto de Cegos Padre Chico (now known as the Colégio Vincentino Padre Chico) in the capital city of São Paulo which was staffed by the French Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Much beloved by the sisters who cared for her as well as the teachers who served as her instructors, Luzia thrived despite the challenges and difficulties posed by the circumstances of her early life. Blessed with an unwavering confidence in God and an amazing resiliency, Luzia made the most of her other four senses, as she devoted herself to discovering and making meaning of the world around her. Gifted with a creative imagination, Luzia’s intuitions and perceptions provided her with a heightened sensitivity to everyone and everything that she encountered. Finding strength, hope and joy in in the enduring memory of her Calabrese parents to whom she attributed her natural talent for music and poetry, Luzia always had a song in her heart and a poem for every occasion.