Live video link connects Kansas & Brazil
When the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia ventured to northeast Brazil to establish a mission in Teresina in June 1963, it was an arduous journey that meant traveling for days on trains and airplanes or weeks aboard a passenger-freight ship.
But on Friday, June 7, for the first time in the 50 years that the mission in Brazil has existed, sisters in Teresina and Concordia were able to gather together, face-to-face, live, to celebrate that anniversary.
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The connection was a video conference that linked more than 150 sisters, candidates, associates and staff at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia with nearly all of the 20-some sisters, postulants and aspirants at the Regional House in Teresina.
“It was very emotional for us,” said Sister Pat Neihouse, who was one of the four original Sisters of St. Joseph who went to Teresina in 1963 and who continues to serve there. “After the video conference was over, we sat around talking about the joy of it. Many of the sisters cried just to be with you and feel as one with the sisters there.”
It was equally emotional for many of the Concordia sisters.
Sister Rose Marie Dwyer, who went to northeast Brazil in 1965 and served for most of the next 40 years there, was able to talk with the women she hadn’t seen since she returned to the United States in 2005.
“My spirit is still there,” Sister Rose Marie said, although failing health has kept her from returning.
The Otter sisters — Donna in Teresina and Francis Margaret and Mary Esther in Concordia — also had a video reunion.
And Sister Alexsandra da Silva, who plans to come to the United States later this summer to study at Kansas State University, met her future roommates for the first time. She will live in Manhattan with Sisters Beverly Carlin and Missy Ljungdahl.
After the video conference Friday afternoon, Sister Alexsandra said she dreamed that night that she had actually been among the sisters in the Motherhouse auditorium as she was talking to them.
Individual sisters, as well as the congregation’s Leadership Council, have used video conferencing to talk with sister in Brazil before, but this was the first time that the entire congregation was able to take part. David Sprague, the information technology specialist for the Sisters of St. Joseph, set up the video conference and provided technical support throughout the afternoon.
Sister Grace Malaney, a Benedictine sister from Atchison, Kan., assisted in Concordia with translations from the Portuguese spoken by the Brazilian sisters to English for the audience at the Motherhouse.
Before the video conference began, sisters in both Concordia and Teresina watched a newly created DVD titled “A Child of the Times,” which details the origins of the Brazilian mission. The DVD was created by communications director Sarah Jenkins as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.
Later in June, a contingent of Sisters of St. Joseph from Concordia will travel to Teresina to join in the celebration there on June 29.
“We live so far apart, and yet this made us feel so near,” Sister Pat said. “The video and the DVD brought us closer together.”
One thought on “Live video link connects Kansas & Brazil”
I am so sorry to have missed this wonderful historical event. David, thanks for your hard work to make this happen.