Sisters of Notre Dame…Missioned to Incarnate the Love of our good and provident God

Sister Diva Maria

DivaMaria2013_w300Sister Diva Maria         ND 4182             ⇒ PDF Download
Diva Evangelho Costa

Our Lady Aparecida Province, Canoas, RS – Brazil

Date and place of birth:  April 12th, 1923     Cerrito de Ouro. County of S. Sepé, RS
Date and place of profession: February 12th, 1948   Passo Fundo, RS
Date and place of death:   July 31st, 2014    Recanto Aparecida, Canoas, RS
Date and place of burial:  July 31st, 2014     Convent Cemetery, Canoas, RS

“Those who teach will shine as bright as stars for all eternity”. Cf Dn 12,3

This biblical verse cited above summarizes the life of Sister Diva Maria who, from youth to old age dedicated herself entirely to Education and Catechesis. Diva was born on April 12th, 1923 in the county of São Sepé, RS. She was the eldest daughter of nine children of Adamastor Costa and Firmina Souto Evangelho Costa. The mother died very young, leaving nine children as orphans, the youngest one was only six months old. Diva, then 15 years old, took over the care of her eight brothers and sisters.

When she was 22 years old, she welcomed God´s initiative calling her to consecrated life in the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The young lady left her home in 1945, after the second marriage of her father, in the certainty that her younger brothers and sisters had the care of a mother. When she left her home in order to be integrated into the Notre Dame family, she enthroned the image of Jesus in a corner of her room, entrusting her family to the care of the good God. Sister Diva Maria remained committed to her family to whom she had dedicated motherly love since she was young.

Sister Diva Maria, as a 2nd year novice, began her educational mission as a kindergarten teacher. She dedicated herself to the little ones, guiding them with goodness and tenderness, impregnating meaning into each moment of her educational mission. In 1972 she was hired as a teacher by the municipality, assuming the direction and coordination of the kindergarten as well as the coordination of Religious Education. One witness gave this testimony: “Sister enjoyed helping the poor; for all, she had a word of comfort and tenderness; she was friendly and known by all; she was supportive of good reading; she was always cheerful; she left marks that time will not erase.”

Sister Diva Maria had a great apostolic zeal and in her spirituality nurtured a deep love for the Eucharist, Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On weekends, whenever possible, she accompanied the priest in the celebrations in the countryside, animating the liturgy and dedicating herself to catechesis. The spread of good reading through “Queen Magazine” and radio programs gave testimony to her apostolic zeal. In view of the changes in the Congregation, Sister characterized herself by freedom of spirit, challenging structures while, at the same time, being a kind presence in living together.

She loved people and wanted to share details of her life and keep good relationships with all. In May 2009, recognizing her frailty due to her age, she agreed to become part of the Recanto Aparecida community where she received the affection, attention and care of the Sisters and staff. She visited the elderly Sisters, making them happy and entertaining them with good reading. Her humorous spirit made her a lovable presence in community.

In May, Sister was hospitalized. She was diagnosed with neoplasia of the bile ducts which led to her death within five minutes on July 31st, 2014. Sister Diva Maria internalized the spirit of joyful simplicity as a living expression of the Notre Dame charism; she was a happy religious, resigned to suffering and pain. Knowing the seriousness of her disease, she consciously prepared herself for her final journey to the One whom she sought and faithfully served her whole life.

May Sister Diva Maria rest in peace and intercede for us in a happy eternity.

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