Note from BW of Brazil: Bahia, Rio and Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian religious community is in mourning over the passing of a great woman, leader, warrior, and inspiration, Mãe Beata. Here is how the Correio Nagô website described the importance of this woman.
“Beatriz Moreira Costa became one of the principle voices in defense of the religions of African matrix, and of the rights of the black population, especially of black women. A great-granddaughter of Nigerians and initiated into Iemanjá in the religion of the Orixás by Mãe Olga do Alaketu, in terreiro (house of worship) Ilê Maroiá Lajié, Mãe (Mother) Beata (as she became known) assumed in 1985, the title of yalorixá of the religious community of Ilê Omi Ojuarô (Casa das Águas dos Olhos de Oxóssi or House of Waters of the Eyes of Oxóssi), in Miguel Couto, in Nova Iguaçu, in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio de Janeiro. In 2015, the terreiro received the award of Cultural Patrimony, promoted by the Institute of the National Historical and Artistic Patrimony (Iphan).
Among the dozens of titles received by Mãe Beata were the Afro-Brazilian Civic Merit Medal, conferred by the Universidade da Cidadania Zumbi dos Palmares (UniPalmares University of São Paulo; The Bertha Lutz Citizen Women’s Award from the Federal Senate; and the Human Rights Award conferred by the National Human Rights Program of the Presidency of the Republic. In June 2017, Mother Beata would receive the Tiradentes Medal from the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro.
“There are things I’m very proud of: being black, being a mother of four and having millions of children for whom I feel the same pain, I feel my breast suckling to breastfeed. I am a lover, I am a mother, I am a lawyer, I am a doctor, I am a counselor, I am a psychologist. I am everything in life. Other special prides that give me a lot of strength: being from the northeastern region, of not having succumbed, of vanity not having eroded my identity … “. Testimony of Mãe Beata in the book Mulheres Incríveis (incredible women) 3ª ed. – Editora Nandyala, authored by Elaine Marcelina.”
Mãe Beata’s physical presence may no longer be with us, but her spirit shall live on forever!
Mãe Beata de Iemanjá dies at age 86
Religious leader who commanded the Ilê Omi Oju Aro terreiro, in Miguel Couto, Nova Iguaçu, became known for her struggle against racial prejudice
By Maria Inez Magalhães
The candomblé is in mourning. Beatriz Moreira Costa, known as Mãe Beata de Iemanjá (Mother Beata de Iemanja), 86, who commanded the terreiro Ilê Omi Oju Aro, in the Miguel Couto neighborhood, in Nova Iguaçu, in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio has died. The place became a cultural patrimony and entered the map of the culture of the state of Rio. The religious leader was known for her struggle against racial prejudice. In her terreiro, Mãe Beata de Iemanjá promoted workshops and parties and helped the people of the neighborhood.
In his social network Mãe Beata de Iemanjá’s son, Adailton Moreira, communicated the death of the leader, but did not say the cause. However, it was known that she had been in poor health for some time. “It is with great sorrow that I communicate the death of my biological mother Mãe Beata de Iemanjá. Olorun receives her with glory. Laater, I will go into greater detail,” he wrote, receiving hundreds of messages of support.
Mãe Beata de Iemanjá, was born in 1931 in Cachoeira do Paraguaçu, in the Recôncavo Baiano in Bahia. She arrived in the state of Rio in the late 1960s. She began in candomblé in 1956 in Salvador, and founded her terreiro in Nova Iguaçu in 1985, where she strengthened her work for Afro-Brazilian culture. The death of Mãe Beata de Iemanjá caused a great commotion in social networks.