October 16, 1998
Brazil mourns death of candomble religious leader

                  BRASILIA (Reuters) -- Brazilian political leaders and show business stars
                  rubbed shoulders with shanty-town dwellers on Friday as they paid last
                  respects to a spiritual leader of the country's Afro-Brazilian candomble

                  Mae (Mother) Cleusa do Gantois, 67, died on Thursday in Salvador, the
                  capital of Brazil's northeastern Bahia state, where she presided over a
                  famous centre for the faith, brought to South America by African slaves in
                  the 17th Century.

                  Many Bahians consider themselves both Catholics and followers of
                  candomble, relying on mother saints like Mae Cleusa for spiritual guidance.

                  "I came to see the body of Mae Cleusa up close. I'm very upset, I can't
                  talk," leading singer-songwriter Caetano Velloso told national Globo News

                  Throughout the day hundreds of worshippers dressed in white, the sacred
                  colour of candomble ceremonies, filed past an open coffin to view the the
                  body of Mae Cleusa, decked out in the traditional turban and flowing robes
                  of candomble priesthood.

                  The president of Brazil's Congress, Sen. Antonio Carlos Magalhaes, joined
                  the mourners after jetting in from the capital Brasilia. Earlier, a Catholic
                  bishop paid his tribute.

                  Mae Cleusa, whose official name was Cleusa Millet and was a nurse by
                  profession, claimed heritage from a noble family in modern-day Nigeria,
                  where her great-great-grandmother was captured by slavers and brought to
                  Brazil, O Globo newspaper said.

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.