Beginning of Diocesan Inquiry: 14 - 8 - 1993
Conclusion of the Inquiry: 14-8-2001
Venerable June 22nd 2023
Antonio de Almeida Lustosa was born on 11 February 1886 into a peasant bourgeois family in São João del Rei, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
From his parents he learned the spirit of sacrifice and the value of work. The Salesians had opened the Don Bosco College in Cachoreira do Campo a few years previously, and Anthony entered at sixteen. Two years later he decided to become a Salesian. He was distinguished by his intellectual acuteness and commitment to religious life.
At 26 he was ordained a priest. He was chosen as Master of Novices. He was appointed Rector at Lavrinhas, in charge of training Salesian aspirants and students of philosophy and theology. In addition to teaching, he trained many clerics in the Salesian apostolate, animating neighbouring parishes and oratories with their help.
In 1925 he was invited to accept the appointment as Bishop of Uberaba, diocese of workers and miners. He wanted to be consecrated on 11 February, a date that reminded him of the presence of Our Lady in his life. He found the seminary practically empty. After a year he had some thirty seminarians around him. He took care of the marginalised, making his own the urgency of social justice. After just four years, he was transferred to Corumbà in Mato Grosso, the largest and most difficult site for evangelisation. After only two years he was then appointed Archbishop of Belém do Parà, a huge diocese in the north. He stayed there for ten years, as generous as ever. In 1941 he was transferred to the important See of Fortaleza, capital of the state of Cearà.
Here he gave the best of himself iover 22 years, intensely living according to the "Da mihi animas" of Don Bosco. He is considered the bishop of social justice. He realised that the first evangelisation consists in restoring dignity to the poorest people and families. Then he established clinics, the "St Joseph" Hospital, free popular schools and workers' clubs. He also began soup kitchens for the poor and social services in the Archdiocese. Without ever forgetting the care of souls, he opened a Pre-Seminary, the a Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima and "Assumption Cearense" radio station.
To assist rural families, he founded the Congregation of the "Giuseppine", currently present in various Brazilian states. Archbishop Lustosa was, like Don Bosco, a prolific writer in the most varied fields: theology, philosophy, spirituality, hagiography, literature, geology, botany. He was very gifted also in the artistic field: the stained glass windows of the Cathedral in Fortaleza were designed by him..
In 1963, after 38 years of episcopal activity, he retired to the Salesian House in Carpina. where he spent his last fifteen years and where he died on 14 August. His body liesd in the Cathedral at Fortaleza.