For the last thirteen years we have been inserted in a poor area of Divina Pastora, a municipal area in Sergipe in the North East of Brazil, 39 km from Aracaju. We try to live ever more fully our vocation to be contemplative Religious of Sion, giving communally life that is responsible and open to others. The area in which we live both challenges and encourages us to strive for a very simple lifestyle, without creating additional demands. Around us we see people who live with the bare minimum, struggling for jobs which are sometimes difficult to find. Our insertion touches various people we know outside the area. Through what we share about the needs of the poor they are motivated to send material help in the form of money or clothing. We have friends here who direct these gifts to needy families. Sometimes houses are in bad repair (leaking roofs, for example) sometimes there is need to buy medicines which are not available in the health centre, or pay for consultations with the eye doctor and help in buying glasses. Small amounts of money received are also channelled to help the studies of the young people. Several have already been helped to attend an information technology or technical course, after which they have managed to find jobs. At present a young man is finishing his university course which was paid for by his own work, but needed a bit of extra help to complete it. These young people seldom know where the money comes from because we insist on anonymity. The faith of these simple and humble people challenges us, although they are sometimes people who are on the fringe of the church. Recently we were sought out by a lady who last year asked for some help to enable her son to attend the school for people with hearing and speech disabilities which was threatened with closure because of lack of resources. This time, I would like to share the experience of a grace attained through the mediation of Our Lady of Divina Pastora. The woman was cured of a kidney problem. The doctors cancelled the surgery that had already been scheduled as an emergency one. In our liturgies we particularly include the intentions of this receptive and welcoming population which suffers but is thirsty for God and always in search of something better. We know that for many the them courage for their journey.
Sr M. Hermínia da Silva and Sr Madalena Maria da Costa Carvalho Vidigal