Plinio and the Heart of Jesus

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine saw him grow up, and there he received, from a very early age, decisive graces for the fulfilment of his mission.

Located in the city of São Paulo, in the neighbourhood of Campos Elíseos, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine is worthy of special mention among Brazilian Catholic churches.

The building’s origin dates back to 1881, when under the care of the Vincentians, the foundation stone of a chapel was laid. Two decades later, under the administration of the Salesian Congregation, the current shrine was inaugurated, in a neoclassical style that closely imitates the church of the same name built by St. John Bosco in Rome.

This shrine has a close connection with Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.

Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Plinio attended Holy Mass there on Sundays with his parents and sister. And it was in this blessed church that he received extraordinary graces, decisive for his vocation, from his earliest childhood.

He was only five years old when, standing before the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus located on an altar in the left-hand side nave, he discerned, in his own words, the Soul of Our Lord. Little Plinio understood that within the Divine Master “was the synthesis, the highest model, bringing together all the goodness and truth that he saw in other souls, and all the beauty dispersed around him!”1

Plinio in 1912

From that episode onwards, his entire existence was sealed with the mark of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Christ became the point of reference and the culmination of his thinking and acting.

It was also in this place of worship that Dr. Plinio began to come into contact with the Church as an institution: “I would enter there and have the impression that the entire doctrine, the entire spirit of the Catholic Church was enveloping me,”2 he said in a conference to his young disciples.

On the right-side nave we find a statue of Our Lady Help of Christians carved in white marble. In front of this image, at the age of twelve, he received one of the greatest graces of his long pilgrimage on this earth. In the midst of an enormous affliction, he felt so caressed by the Mother of God that, according to his own account, he remained calm for his entire life. There at her feet, Plinio inaugurated for himself and all his followers a unique spiritual path of trusting abandonment to the Blessed Virgin.

The tower of the shrine rises to a height of 62 metres and serves as a pedestal for an imposing image of Christ the Redeemer, with His arms open. One Holy Saturday, at a time when Easter celebrations began in the morning of this day rather than the evening, the young Plinio climbed to the top of the tower. The bells began to ring, announcing the victory of the Risen Lord, and soon the bells of the other churches echoed the triumphal news. The faithful flocked to the Catholic churches to join in the liturgical celebration and Plinio, from the height of the tower – one of the three highest points in the little São Paulo of the time – had the impression of seeing the heavenly blessings descend on the city, imbuing the atmosphere with Easter joy.

How many other facts could be recounted… What is certain is that we cannot imagine how much the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine meant for Dr. Plinio. In fact, in the light coloured by the beautiful stained glass windows of this majestic church, he felt an ardent love for Jesus, a filial devotion to his Blessed Mother and a deep veneration for the Holy Roman Catholic Church blossom in his soul. There he drew strength for the battles that awaited him, as he commented years later:

“The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very enveloping, very maternal, very affable, very calm… She is in no hurry […]. She is seeking to envelop; she is caressing, as if to say: ‘My son, you have suffered a lot and you still have more to suffer, but accept it well. I will help you suffer; this is life… But look to Heaven… I am full of Heaven!’”3 ◊



1 CLÁ DIAS, EP, João Scognamiglio. O dom de sabedoria na mente, vida e obra de Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Città del Vaticano-São Paulo: LEV; Lumen Sapientiæ, 2016, v.I, p.240.

2 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Conference. São Paulo, 25/2/1984.

3 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 17/4/1988.



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