On Saturday, August 1, 2020, in Timbiras/ Brazil, our Sisters celebrated 40 years of presence and missionary commitment in the northeast of their large country. In the spacious Parish church about 100 persons could assemble – according to the regulations in the corona epidemic that is currently unleashed there. Together they thanked God for the precious history of 40 years of giving witness of faith and love. The bishop of Coroatá, Dom Sebastiao Bandeira Coelho, who presided at the Eucharistic celebration, the parish priest José Wasensteiner SAC and some more Pallottine priests and other clergy were present to celebrate this event of joy together. In his homily Bishop Sebastiao said: “The Gospel of the multiplication of the bread, especially at this time when we are all suffering the consequences of the Corona pandemic, shows us something about the meaning of religious life, whereto it serves: “God needs people, apostles who are ready to give a response of love to the multiple sufferings of mankind – He needs people who are more preoccupied with the needs of others than with their own”.
As a special sign that God has always accompanied the missionary journey of our sisters and is calling also today, the assembly was privileged to witness the profession of the first religious vows of Sister Josinalda Machado Oliveira Coelho. Sr. Maria Avani Sousa da Silva, as delegate of the Provincial Superior, Sr. Astrid Meinert, received the vows. Due to travel restrictions, no one from the provincial leadership was able to be present.
In a week’s retreat (accompanied by Fr. José Wasensteiner), the sisters had prepared themselves, together with Sr. Josinalda, in prayer, reflection and sharing for this historic celebration.
Sr. Avani, the representative of the Sisters in Brazil, thanked all who participated in this history through their prayer, friendship, and material support of social projects. Sr. Josy also expressed her gratitude to all those who had helped her up to now in her formation process, mentioning the Sisters in Brazil, Germany, Belize, Tanzania and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate in Sao Paolo.
Both then took the opportunity to address an appeal to the youth:
“The pastoral and social needs cry out for people who are willing to commit themselves… God is calling also today! It is up to us if we hear the call… and are ready to respond! – God is calling! Religious life is not a run-down model!”
After the Eucharistic Celebration there was a cocktail offered for a limited (for health security reasons) group.
We praise the Lord and thank our Sisters for their missionary commitment and wish them and especially Sr. Josinalda rich blessings and health for a fruitful commitment in the Kingdom of God!
Short history of our mission in Brazil:
On August 1, 1980, the pioneer Sisters Sr. Rita-Lore Wicklein, Sr. Christine Schubert and Sr. Mathilde Dierkes († 1991 in Brazil) arrived in Timbiras/State of Maranhao and started to work there. They began by caring for the sick, but soon they worked in the formation of street groups and grassroots communities in the countryside, where evangelization/catechesis went along basic education work. They lived in poverty at the side of the poor.
Soon young Brazilians joined them, a few German missionaries arrived later as reinforcement. Sadly, Sr. Mathilde (German) died in 1991 in Timbiras, and Brazilian Sr. Marylande Lopes died in 2013, also in Timbiras.
Today there are 8 Brazilian sisters who continue the legacy of Pallotti there, together with the Pallottine Fathers and many committed lay people (many also joined the Pallottine Union) who have emerged from the grassroots work of the first three sisters. Together they are committed in the spirit of Pallotti to make the love of God visible among the people.
Many people in Germany have been supporting the social and pastoral projects for 40 years. We wish the Sisters and Pallottine Fathers (especially Fr. Sepp Wasensteiner SAC, who came to the Sisters about 30 years ago and who is still at their side today) fruitful work in the vineyard of the Lord, among the “privileged ones of God”: the poor and disadvantaged.
Sr. Maria Lansberger SAC