Belem Assembly 2017


The Belem Province met October 5-9, 2017 to discuss the implementation of the General Chapter Acts as well as to prepare for the restructuring of the Province as a Unit of the Congregation that will take place within a few years.

The Assembly included faith sharing as its daily prayer and small group table discussions being further enlarged with information and facilitation by Fr. Moacir Casagrande, Sisters Livramento Oliveira and Janis Jordan.


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Mission at the Border -Brazil-French Guiana

The OIAPOQUE Mission Report of 2015.

O-2   (Sister Zenilda is seated at left)

We missionaries, Sr. Zenilda Ferreira, SMIC, and Sr. Aparecida Viana (Sisters of Providence of GAP) e Ruth Oliveira (Lay Missioner from the St. Francis Xavier Parish of the Archdiocese of Belém) arrived at the Oiapoque on April 11th 2015, at about 5:30 AM with Fr. Nello e Sr. Rebecca who accompanied us and helped us for one month in adapting ourselves. It was with a heart full of joy and expectations that we stepped onto this land.


On the following day we were presented by Fr. Augustinho to the Parish during the Eucharistic celebration. Afterwards, we were presented to the communities who were present at the Parish to meet the representatives and also give us some reference about them


It is good to remember that before coming to the   Oiapoque, we spent a month at the house in CIMI in Belém. It was a time of formation and information with the coordinators of the mission, Fr. Nello and Sr. Rebecca and some speakers who helped orient us with reflections, sharing about the mission area and living among ourselves. As an activity we spent Holy Week in the Village of the Tembé indigenous people, in Santa Maria.


During this first year we had as our work plan to know the reality of the Oiapoque.

We did this by visiting the neighborhoods and by direct contact with families seeking information about trafficked cases, migrants, prostitution, etc. We also went to the Border at St. Jorge, in French Guiana where we met Sisters and priests and people who also work in the parish.



During this year, we visited families of the communities of: São Cristóvão (Infraero); São José (Vila Vitória); Sagrado Coração de Jesus (Pertinho do Céu); São Raimundo Nonato (Nova Esperança); São Benedito (Centro); Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (Clevelândia); Planalto; and a part of the surroundings of the Mother Church (Central) where we live as well as having an opportunity to know some of the river communities and villages where Fr. Nello, Sr. Rebecca and Fr. Augustinho minister.


Our presence here in the Parish has served to help priests and parishioners. In all of the communities we seek to help and be a presence for life among the people in times of celebration. We visit many families, ill, elderly and principally where we meet children and adolescents as these are the most vulnerable ones. We always seek to give a word of comfort and hope, helping when possible, conversing and trying to discover how trafficking and prostitution happen.


With these visits, we feel it is an opportunity to have friendly encounters and trust with the families. Wherever we go we listen to many stories and learn about difficult family situations. There is social, economic emotional vulnerability often caused by violence to children and women, drugs consumed by youth and children, situations of parent-youth, prostitution of adolescents, often encouraged by the mother, mothers working in the mining fields with children who are alone our in some cases with relatives or friends where oftentimes the relative violates the child and sexual abuse occurs.


In the São José Community in Vila Vitória, and São Cristóvão no Infraero, which are humble neighborhoods with much violence, migrants, prostitution of adolescents we began a group of adolescents, girls who learn to embroider, crochet and do cross point stitching. In Vila Vitória, we also visit the CRAS where we began crafts with girls and boys who generally are poor children coming from situations of suffering.


In the Comunity of São Raimundo Nonato, neighborhood of Nova Esperança, we formed a a group of women who do artisan work such as crochet. We do this to promote self esteem, to value the woman, to occupy the mind and to create friendships. We always begin with a prayer and during the work we hold conversations about various family and community situations. There are 6 women in this group and we are looking for others.


As a concrete gesture of Christmas, with the help of the parish and the local forum, we held a Solidarity Campaign having as its theme “to give is to love” with the intention of collecting good, clothes, toys to be donated thus giving a joyful Christmas to the families and communities. Forty (40) families benefitted from food baskets, 50 children with toys and some 80 people (children and adults) with clothes.


At Christmas, we also had the partnership of DPAC Fronteira, where we created a “Friends of the Children” network along with a Christmas Solidarity in Vila Vitória, distributing toys, lunch and clothing.


We received many people in our Mercy House who come asking for information, water to drink and to be helped with food, to talk or seek our advise about some family problem among other things. These are indigenous city people, migrants and parishioners


During 2015, we also were visited. The Bishop of Macapá, Dom Pedro José Conti; Sr. Nila Soares, provincial, Sr. Maria Inês president of the National Office of the Religious Conference, Fr. Camille de São Jorge, Fr. Paulo of CIMI. All came to know something about our Mission on the Borders and to encourage us missioners.


Due to family illnes, Sr. Aparecida needed to return to São Paulo on October 30th where she is until now.


We know that we still have things to do but we are certain that being here in Oiapoque and knowing a bit about the culture of the people and their difficulties, problems and needs, little by little we will be helping and be a sign of the presence of the Kingdom among the people.


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Munduruku Statement for the Sake of Life


Update from Sr. Claudia Morais

Ministry with the Munduruku People,  Cururu Mission,  Para, Brazil

After having celebrated 100 years among the indigenous Munduruku people we can see a difference in the challenges of each period.  The first decades were marked with the very challenge of a first contact with the people: insecurity of not knowing their culture, language, the distances, difficult access, etc.  The following decades had  prime challenges of epidemic illnesses which killed many Indians leaving behind orphaned children who were welcomed and cared for by our Sisters and by the Franciscan friars.  After, came the struggle of the demarcation and regularization of their lands  demanding much courage of the missionaries to struggle together with the indigenous to win this battle. There also was the struggle to better the public health and education policies in the decade of the 90’s.  In all of these struggles and conquests our Sisters and the friars have been present and have given their lives day after day for the cause of the Munduruku people.

Actually, or better still, in the first decades of this new century, we have the great challenge to take on, together with this people, the guarantee of all the rights already won. But, we are in front of a great challenge that concerns us very much and threatens the future of the Munduruku people which are the large works projected by our federal Brazilian government to be constructed within or near their lands.

We feel impotent before this situation, as a the government goes above the rights of the indigenous and continues executing their projects of death, principally as it affects the poor.

Since 2009, we SMIC and the Friars began a work of awareness alerting the Munduruku people to the risks of accepting any agreement with the government.  As a way of greater commitment with this cause I took on, last year, a project which dealt with promoting the mobilization of the Munduruku to confront this struggle.  I participated in various activities such as assemblies and leadership meeting with the government and with various social movements and NGO groups.

Actually I continue to support the Munduruku in their struggle but I am no longer linked to the project because as a Franciscan I could not identify with their methodology of mobilization which worked also with violent means.  But I want to say that I did not leave the struggle of the Munduruku, only that of the project.

At this time we are three in the Cururu: a friar–Frei Ulysses Calvo and two Sisters – Sr. Conceição Rocha and myself. We try to be a presence of peace as our Father Francis.  We are attentive to accompany the events which involve the Munduruku and always try to counsel them to be people of peace and that even before conflict, struggles and confrontations to defend their land, their culture they should use non-violent means.

This is the reason why I no longer am part of the project referred to above.  The Munduruku people were being motivated to act with violence.  This made me ask to leave.  But I continue to support the Munduruku always as is possible.

We are also trying to form indigenous missionaries.  They are very enthusiastic with the idea of being missionaries.  This gives us much happiness as they are helping in the work of evangelizations.

To be a missionary among the Munduruku is more than a challenge, it is a privilege !



A  Centennial of Struggle for Human Rights

Celebrating with joy and hope the Centennial of the St. Francis Mission of the Cururu River, We the people of the Munduruku nation, coming from dozens of Mundurukan towns, captains, missionaries and  laity congregating in numbers of more than 100 persons during these festive days –we dMissao Cururuirect the following message to the Brazilian society and to all persons who defend life on the Planet Earth.


For hundreds of years we are living in the Amazon forest of the High Tapajos and its adjoin rivers in the southeast of Para, Brazil.  We consider the earth and water, the forest and the rivers as a source and sustenance of life in all of its dimensions.  Therefore we understand and respect nature as sacred and therefore as superior to us.


Lastly, we feel threatened by the projects promoted by a model of development which motivates the construction of hydroelectric, river transport and mining as well as the commerce that is called “carbon credits”.  This model of development is not only incompatible with our form of living but also causes serious and irreversible impact to our traditional peoples and to all the bio life of the Amazon.


On the other hand, we want a policy of economic development which truly benefits the inhabitants of the Earth and does not privilege only a minority.  Time urges strengthening ourselves to a union: the Munduruku people, indigenous people and all the people of good will to resist and in defense of life, of our culture, the earth and water with a view to the future of our sons and daughters and Planet Earth.


We live and work in the hope of 100 more years!

Topaga soat jeymubacan – For this, God will bless us all!

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