The Santa Casa da Misericórdia in São Brás de Alportel is preparing a celebration to mark the 106th birthday of Maria da Conceição Brito, a locally-born member of the nursing home.
Maria da Conceição Brito came into the world in 1912, ten years before Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral made the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic and two years before the slaughter of millions of soldiers began, in the trenches of WWI.
Maria da Conceição Brito was born before São Brás de Alportel was even a municipality, which it became on June 1, 1914, She was four when three peasant children near Fatima, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary, sparking a religious fervour that continues to expand.
Her birthday was a little over two years from the end of Portugal’s monarchy and the start of Portugal as a Republic,
Maria was born when Duarte Leite Pereira da Silva was prime minister and Manuel José de Arriaga Brum da Silveira e Peyrelongue was the President, after the deposition of King Manuel II of Portugal.
Five months before she was born, Royalists attacked Chaves, on July 8, 1912, in a military action performed by supporters of the monarchy in opposition to the Portuguese First Republic, which had been proclaimed in 1910. The attack ended with a defeat for the royalist forces despite their having been discreetly been armed by the Spanish king, Alfonso XIII.
Maria da Conceição Brito is but a spring chicken when compared to Maria de Jesus, the oldest Portuguese citizen ever recorded who died in 2009 aged 115 years and 114 days, from 1893 to 2009.
Maria da Conceição Brito, (1912- )