During the first few days after their arrival, the sisters stayed in the house that was there, until their convent had been arranged. Young people who came to consult the library in the front room heard their prayer and asked to take part… and they continued doing so when the sisters moved into their convent. Very soon, the improvised chapel in a room was too small for the demand. Little by little, with the help of benefactor friends, a room for welcoming people and a chapel next to it were built.
The small community immediately made its contemplative life visible: prayer with the days receiving their rhythm from the liturgy, prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament; and the community began its work in handicrafts. Among other things, many stoles were woven for priests who appreciated their simplicity and ordered some.
A timetable was set up for welcoming people, and the chapel is always open to those who wish to celebrate the Office with the sisters. Also very soon, we were preoccupied with maintaining a simple life style and with receiving, together with friends from the outside, gifts in order to help the people most in need.
The years went by, and Sr. Silvia Maria, who was older, had to return to Curitiba; today, the community is made up of Sr. Herminia, Sr. Maria Janina and Sr. Madalena Maria.
For almost five years now, we have had a priest in town, as the parish was recognized as a basilica, because it is the largest place of pilgrimage in Sergipe. This brought with it the possibility of a new handicraft: transforming the countless small candles that are offered at Divina Pastora into large candles. Some souvenirs are also made for the pilgrims: rosaries, etc…
Sometimes we open our space to welcome groups for meetings organized by our apostolic sisters working together with the parish.
Next to the convent, a guest house was built with the help of benefactors; it is for people who wish to spend a time of silence, to pray with the sisters. Sometimes the house becomes expandable so as to welcome groups of young people who camp here.
Study of the Word with Father Vitorio of Sion twice a year, sharing the Sunday Word every Saturday before Vespers are times that are open to the local community, whether the people be friends of the community or members of the group of young people or of the catechesis group.
At the last chapter of the contemplative branch, in March 2014, the importance of this community for the branch was spoken of. This presence in a poor milieu helps us “to hear the cry of the poor and to respond anew to the call of God to do justice. This commandment resounds urgently in our day through the calls of the Church. The history of the Jewish people makes us particularly sensitive to the rights of minorities, of the poor, and of all who are marginalized in our society. These situations provoke our reflection and our prayer; they demand concrete commitments.” (cf. Constitution art. 15)
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