In Brazil

Two Nations United By The Same Charism
by Sister Augusta Mendes Bispo, CSJ

(Published June 20, 2008) As part of our 125th anniversary celebration we were able to bring six of our Brazilian sisters and both American sisters serving in Brazil home for the festivities.

Our mission in Teresina, Piaui, Brazil began in 1963 when Pope John XXIII asked religious communities to send missionary Sisters to underdeveloped countries.

Brazilian Sister Augusta Mendes Bispo wrote this reflection about being at the Motherhouse for our 125th anniversary.

“I would like to begin by quoting St. Paul when he spoke to the Philippians (9.13): ‘Everything is possible in Him who gives me strength.’ This article will be referring to what this week of festivity has meant to me.

“It is difficult to express because since the moment we arrived, I could perceive the spirit that permeated the sisters here, the meeting of each sister with such happiness! But all of this to me, was like coming back to drink of the living water at the fount, a jump into our profound history and be able to feel new sprouts developing that unite each of us, more and more.

“I feel at home, I feel close to you, I feel a part of you. What makes me feel like this, is the way that each one of the Sisters here have accepted us with affection, a joyful spirit, and with a deep desire to communicate.

“Everything has made an imprint on me but the reflection of Mother St. John Fontbonne (who re-founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph community after the French Revolution) touched me greatly. This week with many activities was all very good, but what really caught my attention was the certainty that even with the distance that separates us and the difficulty of communication, our CSJ charism (of unity and reconciliation) unites us.

“I thank God for this opportunity that He has given us to be here to participate with you at this great time. We thank the Congregation for inviting us to be here. We also thank anyone who made this possible (directly or indirectly). It is a beautiful gift to us.

“I finish with St. Paul’s word: ‘I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim. 4.7)

“May God bless everyone in the Diocese of Salina!”

The Sisters returned to Brazil June 14. This was the first time in the United States for many of them. They enjoyed meeting Bishop Coakley when he came to celebrate with us during our opening Liturgy for this Jubilee year.