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Superioress General Visits the First House of the Province of Curitiba, Brazil

September 16, 2023

On 23 May 2023, the Community of Sisters of the Vincentian College, São José, Curitiba welcomed Sister Françoise Petit, Superioress General, Father Bernard Schoepfer, former Director General, Sister Ana Amélia Guedes da Cunha, General Councilor and the participants of the XXII Interprovincial Councils of Brazil.

In addition to the Sisters and some collaborators, students of the school’s 4th and 5th grades were there to welcome Sister Françoise, Father Bernard, and Sister Ana Amélia with a beautiful music. Upon entering the first house of the Curitiba Province, the visitors gazed at the beautiful image of Our Lady of Grace, a daily sign of God’s presence in the educational community.

Afterwards they went to the Vincentian Museum of St Joseph-Sister Luiza Olsztynska, which now houses a Research and Documentation Centre with a large number of historical objects and documents. In the presence of Sister Françoise Petit, the museum was inaugurated.

Sister Jocelia Chuproski and Thiago José Moreira, the museum’s researcher and curator, led the participants, divided into two groups, through the museum, recounting exciting details about the arrival of the three Missionaries and the evolution of the Vincentian College, São José over these 119 years of educational mission. Leaving the room, the participants admired pine cones and pine nuts, symbols of the state of Paraná, and were gifted with chocolate pine nuts.

The next place visited was Casa Marta e Maria (home of the elder Sisters). As the residence is on the school grounds, it was an opportunity to get to know the educational institution a little better.

Students from Kindergarten to High School in the afternoon classes were eager for Sister Françoise Petit to visit each classroom; as they had been reflecting on St. Louise de Marillac during the month of May, they wanted to see St. Louise’s successor. After several requests, a solution was found: how about going to the courtyard of the Sisters’ residence? And so it happened! When the Superioress General and the other participants in the Interprovincial Meeting arrived at the courtyard, there were students and staff, happy to be taking part in this historic moment for the educational community. In their Vincentian way of welcome, they spontaneously burst into song: “God bless you, God protect you, God give you peace.” With their hands raised as they sung, they blessed those who came to Casa Marta e Maria.

The visitors’ departure coincided with the end of classes. One of the 2nd year students who was already in the street with his mother asked if the Sister from France was on the bus. When he found out Sr. Françoise wasn’t there, he decided to wait; when he saw Sister Françoise, he was delighted because he wanted to introduce his mother. And so ended the visit to the Vincentian College, São José, the first house of the Curitiba Province, site of the first Provincial House and Seminary, which currently serves 731 students from Kindergarten to High School, as well as 61 children in the after-school programme.

Sister Jocelia Chuproski, DC