Auta de Souza was born in the state of “Rio Grande do Norte”, in the small town of “Macaíba” on 12 September 1876. Daughter of Castriciano Eloi de Souza and Henrietta Leopoldina Rodrigues de Souza, Auta had four older brothers: Henry Castriciano, Irenaeus, Junior, and, as youngest, John Cancio.
Since childhood Auta studied, according to Clovis Tavares, “The great lessons of human suffering.” Her mother passed away before she completed three years of age; the father followed her in 1881 when Auta had therefore five years. The maternal grandparents of Auta collected her and the brothers, taking them to Recife for the “Old townhouse”. The loss of parents was partly supplied by the dedication of the grandmother nicknamed “Dindinha” – Mrs. Silvina Paula Rodrigues.
At age of seven Auta de Souza could already read and write prefectly, thanks to a friend and teacher. With eight years of age she started reading to the poor children, to humble peasant women and to the old slaves simple and naive pages of history of “Charlemagne, Charles the Great”
The sad goodbye to her brother
In unforgettable night of February 15, 1887 – Auta was ten – another A: her brother Irenaeus, the companion of all times, dies by the flames of a lamp fuel explosion. The boy still resisted eighteen hours, but was finally join the parents, in addition.
This succession of painful experiences, deeply marked her sensitive woman’s soul, characterized by a crystalline purity, an ardent faith and a deep sense of compassion for the humble, whose misery always touched her.
Suffering came cutting her innate sensitivity, what she overflowed in poems and verses, sometimes fiery, sometimes sad, immersed in the shadow of the disease of the distant land where she used to live. At the age of twelve she began her official studies at the College “St. Vincent de Paula”. Then she learnt the French language, which allows her in reading the masters of the French literature in the original. For two years, studies, recites, verses, help the sisters of the college, and especially enhances her faith, constantly reading of the Gospel.
The disease accompanies her
At the age of14 starts “new and painful steps of her ordeal.” It was the tuberculosis starting the devastating action. Hopeless by doctors in Recife, her Grandma, D. Dindinha, returns with her grandchildren to Macaíba.
The greatness of spirit of Auta once again proves: even molested by this ruthless disease, Auta writes and teaches children the first notions of religion. The disease, however, does not stop its march. It is necessary to D. Dindinha wander through the countryside in search of a dry weather. But the disease progressed, more and more …
Return to spiritual home
However, awarded in her the pain, she became the faithful interpreter of the emotions of all those who suffer with resignation. For this reason, her poetry received the popular affection. It was on the people’s souls that her verses found the deepest impact. On February 7, 1901, at 24 years old, Auta de Souza passes away in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte.