SSJ Brazil Associates Forming
The spirit and mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester is growing in Brazil. The first SSJ Associate commitment ceremony is expected to take place on Sunday, April 29 at Jesus of Nazareth in Jardim Curitiba, Goiania. Leadership Team members Sisters Marilyn Pray and Mary Ann Mayer will attend the ceremony as they will be in Brazil for their annual visit.
Over the past year, Sisters Jean Bellini, Joana Dalva Alves Mendes, Maria José Monteiro de Oliveira and Maureen Finn have met regularly with a group of 18 lay men and women for prayer and
sharing of the
SSJ spirit, spirituality and mission. The men and women have also spent time
with the other Sisters missioned in Brazil. Most recently, the group took part
in a day-long retreat to reflect on discerning their call to becoming
Associates. The gathering was held in February on the Tuesday of Carnival, a
national holiday in Brazil, and included a festive celebration.
|Our Potential Associates in Goiania|
It is not yet known how many of the 18 will decide to officially make the two-year commitment as an Associate. The Sisters in Brazil ask that you please keep these men and women in your prayers.
A Visit to Peru
From February 19-21, Sister Joana Dalva Alves Mendes had the opportunity to represent the Congregation (our Sisters from the Brazilian region) at the meeting of the leaders of SSJs who serve in Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting took place in Chincha, Peru and 15 sisters from 12 different congregations were present. As a result of their reflection they came up with the following possibilities or proposals:
- To have common space/opportunity for initial and on-going formation: common novitiate, final vow preparation, sabbatical time (20-30 years of vows)
- Intercongregational initiatives: common mission in places at the margins (in situations or places where others are not serving) for short or prolonged times
- To open ourselves to the possibility of integrating with lay people who share our charism so that they can be protagonists also in our quest to incarnate the Gospel in Latin America and the Caribbean
- To improve communication among ourselves making use of the means of communication available
- To hold periodic meetings (every two years) with the leaders of the congregations present in Latin America
Aside from the meeting proposals, Sister Joana also wanted to share some of the personal reaction she had to the trip.
Reflection by Sister Joana Dalva Alves Mendes
My first opportunity to go to Chincha, Peru was in 2007 when the city, along with its surrounding areas, was devastated by an earthquake. I offered to help there, but discovered that my passport had expired. It was then that Sister Anne Marvin and our dear Suzana (Sister Sue Wills) went to Chincha and spent a year with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Pembroke.
Now, 11 years later, I had the opportunity to go there with another goal, but with the possibility of being in the place where Anne and Suzana lived such remarkable experiences. The opportunity for socializing and sharing experiences with Sisters of Saint Joseph from six countries was remarkable, but above all, I was moved by what remained of the marks of reality, still very precarious. Certainly Anne would have been better able to notice what improved, having been there in the time of chaos. But the appearance that remains, for someone, like me, who had the first contact more than a decade after the earthquake, is that very little has been done and there is much to rebuild.