[Provinces of Brazil] Between April 20 and 23, 2017, the Third Interprovincial Meeting of Young Sisters was held at the Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity of the Province of Rio de Janeiro. It was attended by Sisters from 10 to 15 years of vocation, from the Provinces of Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba, totalling 58 participants.
The meeting was held in response to some requests from the last Interprovincial meeting held in Mariana, Belo Horizonte, in 2016. The organizing team ensured that the schedule of this meeting took into consideration the three main pillars of our life as Daughters of Charity: the Life of the Mission, the Life of Prayer and the Fraternal Life, taking as a perspective the 400 years of the Vincentian Charism.
Sr. Maria Cristina D’Abruzzo, Visitatrix of Rio de Janeiro Province, opened the meeting welcoming all the Sisters. This was followed by a presentation about the characteristic cultural aspect of the city of Rio de Janeiro, with a very welcoming and dynamic “Carnaval out of season”, showing the importance of harmony between all our Provinces, symbolized by the harmony of the wings of a samba school.
The following day, the first moment of spirituality, conducted by the Province of Belo Horizonte, emphasized the importance of Divine Providence. Its dynamic made us rethink “what we have in our hands”, stimulating us to put at God’s disposal all that we received from God for our path of faith. This prayerful and contemplative moment served as an introduction to the theme developed by Sr. Rosalie Carvalho, from the Province of Rio. She discussed the historical context and the foundation of the Province, presenting her main mission. After this valuable collaboration, we were invited to learn a little more about the Matoso Hill, visiting its main places such as the Mère Blanchot and Rosalie Rendu Communities where the elderly Sisters of the Province live and who need special attention. We visited the Hospital São Vincent de Paul and, finally, the Memorial that “keeps” the history of the Mother Province of the Daughters of Charity in Brazil.
Once we’d recalled the memory of the path traveled by our first Sisters in Brazilian lands, we explored the reality of the Poor with the collaboration of Sister Maria Vanda de Araújo, of the Province of Recife, who spoke on the “Revitalization of Service of the Poor in the Company of the Daughters of Charity in the light of the 400 years of the Vincentian Charism “, thus contemplating a first pillar of our lives – the mission.
On Friday, after being nourished by the Eucharistic communion with the Body and Blood of the Lord, Sr. Maria Cristina D’Abruzzo and the other Sisters who constitute the Provincial Council, spoke about their mission to the Province of Rio de Janeiro, as well as some references to the number of houses and sisters.
Sr. Carolina Mureb, from the Province of Rio de Janeiro, shared with us the second pillar of our consecration: fraternal life, based on the theme “Living together in great unity and cordiality: The fraternal life according to Saint Louise de Marillac.” After lunch Father Alexandre Nahass Franco, Provincial Director of the Sisters of the Province of Rio de Janeiro, added a lot to us when he spoke about “Vincentian Mysticism: Contemplatives in Action”, thus considering another pillar of our consecrated life – prayer.
In addition to all Christian and Vincentian formation, we had the opportunity to participate in celebratory and prayerful moments like Eucharistic Celebrations and the Marian Moment, very well energized, remembering the 400 years of the Vincentian Charism and the Marian Year because of the 300 years of the manifestation of Our Lady of Aparecida – Patroness of Brazil and the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
We also participated in recreational “gincanas” or scavenger hunts, prepared by the Sisters of the three Provinces, an opportune moment to live, in practice, what Pope Francis recommends to us in the document Evangelii Gaudium: the joy of the Gospel.
It was with great joy, a sense of belonging and a strong desire to practice and continue to be faithful to the charism of Vincent and Louise, that we celebrated the Eucharist of Sending, sure of the protection of Mary, the Mother Aparecida, in our life and vocation. In this celebration, we brought a special prayer for our Local Communities who accompanied us with their prayers, as well as for those who dedicated themselves to the success of this meeting, whether directly or indirectly.
In the certainty of meeting again next year in the Province of Curitiba for the Fourth Interprovincial Meeting of Sisters up to 15 years of vocation, we departed for our Provinces impelled by the same words addressed by Fr. Etienne to our first Sisters: “I have departed, my Sisters! Take in one hand the torch of faith and in the other the flame of charity! St. Vincent watches over you and Mary will lead you to the port! “
Sister Maria Lucia S. Ramos – Sister Adriana Felix Coelho – Provínce of Curitiba
Sister Maria Lucia S. Ramos – Provínce of Belo Horizonte
Sister Sandilene Maria de Sousa Bocafoli – Provínce of Rio de Janeiro