Brazilians in need, physical or spiritual, seek St. Galvao's pills
Published: May 14, 2007
SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- The Brazilians stood quietly in a line, waiting for the nuns at the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of Light to open the door and start handing out "Frei Galvao's pills." Normally, the nuns distribute packets containing three pills to be taken within a nine-day period. The pills are tiny rice papers inscribed with a prayer, ingested by those in need. The uncertainty as to whether or not the doors would open came from the fact that at that exact time May 11, less than two miles away, Pope Benedict XVI was canonizing Franciscan Father Antonio Galvao in front of several hundred thousand people. "The first time I swallowed the pills I was 8 years old," said Marta Monteiro, who this time brought her husband and teenage son. "I was sick and some aunts came to the monastery to get the pills for me." Monteiro said that when she was pregnant with her son she also came to receive the pills, which are said to help women in labor. Now, she said, she occasionally will stop by the monastery to obtain the pills.
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