Only temple that has received 3 saints: Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Santa Dulce of the Poor
Our Lady of Alagados Church is very close to Ilha dos Ratos, where Sister Dulce’s work began in 1939, assisting the poor community of Alagados. The building dates back to 1980, and was erected for the first visit to Brazil of then Pope John Paul II, one of the most famous and charismatic pontiffs of the Catholic Church. He wanted to visit the poorest of the poor. Cardinal Dom Avelar, then Archbishop of Salvador, chose Alagados to welcome the Pope, which forever marked this community people’s lives. In 2014, with the canonization of St. John Paul II, the church was renamed Parish of Our Lady of Alagados and St. John Paul II. This is the first church in the world dedicated to the saint.
Mother Teresa was in Alagados on her first visit to Bahia, in 1979, being received by Sister Dulce, who performed assistance works there. This place is considered Holy Land because of all the saints who have stepped there, all those who still do, and those who resist the elements of violence and poverty that still make up the local reality.
The Parish of Our Lady of Alagados and St. John Paul II is the only place where you can find first degree reliquaries of 3 saints: Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Santa Dulce of the Poor, besides knowing the works of the Community basis.
Some projects stand out for the need for immediate assistance: distribution of 200 liters of soup fortnightly, prepared by parishioners; welcoming, accompanying and helping young pregnant women in Sonho de Mãe.
Curiosities about its construction
1. Record time – With the architect João Filgueiras Lima’s (“Lelé”) direct coordination, the work lasted only 3 months. The 400-square-meter temple has modern features with exposed brick façades, although the 4 arches and 3 vaults in its interior evoke the architecture of the ancient churches.
2. It is square – The central body of the Matrix is formed of a cube 12 m long by 12 m wide by 12 m high. These characteristics directly evoke the book of Revelation, where St. John reports that he saw “the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. The city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. The Angel measured the city with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs, equal in length and in breadth, and equal in height.” (Rev 21, 1.16).
3. Many “Hidden” Details – The ceiling is made up of 144 shapes, which corresponds to the 144,000 servants of the Lord redeemed by the Lamb’s blood (Rev 7: 4). This number symbolizes the multitude of saints who sing the glory of God in heaven.
4. Neighborhood References – Paintings by Belgian artist Sabine de Coune decorate the interior of the church with gospel depictions, with the place’s references such as stilts, clay jars, and passages that happened in the neighborhood. Our Lady of Alagados image, by artist Manoel Dantas, made for the occasion, was inspired by the women from Alagados who used to carry their children on their side and a bucket of water on their heads.
Learn more about this story
The Itapagipe Peninsula was the industrial hub of Salvador in the 1930s and 1940s. The possibility of employment attracted the low-income population from the interior of the state. With no place to live, these people would put pickets on the mud of the Tainheiros Cove mangrove, building shacks called stilts. There, the population grew in a scenario of pure misery.
From 1960 onwards, the embankment process accelerated and the stilts were gradually replaced by brick houses, built in a joint effort by the residents themselves. It was in this place of extreme poverty that Sister Dulce, known as the “Good Angel of Bahia” and “Blue Angel of Alagados”, began her work.
Parish of Our Lady of Alagados and St. John Paul II
Address: Luiz Régis Pacheco Street, 1618, Uruguai. ZIP Code: 40450-060 – Salvador / BA. www.paroquiadosalagados.org Phone: 71 3314-5087 firstname.lastname@example.org
It receives people interested in the itinerary “Experience of the Catholic Faith”. More information at this link.
There is parking.
Paróquia de Nossa Senhora dos Alagados. Salvador, Bahia. Foto: Amanda Oliveira.