[Province of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil] Responding to the call of the 18th Interprovincial Meeting of the Provincial Councils of the Daughters of Charity in 2011, whose theme was “The Spirit revitalizes the missionary commitment in Amazonia”, and stimulated by the word of Sister Evelyne Franc, Superioress General of the Company, the Visitatrixes with their Councils and Provincial Directors decided to implement the fourth item of the second Line of Action that says: “Strengthened by the Word of God, revitalize the missionary spirit in fidelity to our charism: creating interprovincial missionary communities to realize the mission in Amazônia, Rondônia or in other missionary fronts”.
The archbishop of the state of Rondônia at that time, Bishop Moacyr Grench, had already asked for Daughters for his diocese. Since this state is in the territory of the Province of Rio, it was decided that the other Brazilian provinces would send Sisters to collaborate with the project while the Province of Rio would take care of structure and resources for the two new communities.
On January 30th, 2012 we left for the city of Porto Velho, capital of Rondônia and on February 3rd, Fr. Weliton and Fr. Vanderlei, our Vincentian brothers, arrived at the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. In the same week, we all attended to the 2nd Formation Session of Introduction to the Ministry for Missionaries in Amazônia (the state of Rondônia is in the Amazônia area) and training of pastoral agents.
The Missionary Community of Saint Louise de Marillac is in the city of Itapuã do Oeste, in the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. The missionary team consists of Fr. Weliton and Fr Vanderlei and Sister Jeny Borges da Silva (Province of Rio), Sister Úrsula (Province of Curitiba) and Sister Francisca Lenice (Province of Fortaleza). The Parish encompasses 17 communities close to rivers and roads. The population is composed of migrants and riverine people. At this time, the Sisters visit families, rural communities, help in several ministries, seek to be an effective presence and get to know the local reality.
The Missionary Community of Saint Vincent de Paul is in the city of Rio Crespo, in the Parish of Saint Francis of Assisi. This city is composed of 13 communities and a landless settlement with 35 families, each one very far away from the others. Sister Maria José (Province of Recife), Sister Vânia and Sister Margarida (Province of Rio) live in this community. We began our mission here on May 1st praying the rosary with the families in their homes which was very welcome by everyone. To close the month there was a Coronation of Our Lady performed by the children.
Despite the short time and a few challenges found in the mission, we are very happy. We have lived true Vincentian experiences here and the two communities, together with the Vincentians, try to live in unity. Also, we count on the local people who are welcoming and share the little they have with us.
Sister Margarida Aquino, DC