Sister Virgínia Bonnalume
She was born on June 1, 1933 and at age 14, she entered St. Joseph Convent in Garibaldi, Brazil. She said that the first few days were very difficult because she missed her family, and that if she had found the exit door, she would have left. However, after 15 days she was used to it, and the Sisters were very good to her. Their good will encouraged her to stay. On December 17, 1954 she made her first Religious Profession. Today, with 64 years of consecrated religious life, she is happy about the mission she has lived throughout her life. As a Sister of St. Joseph, she worked in several areas.
She studied social work and had the opportunity to act in defense of the poor and of the communities in the interior in different locales. She was Provincial Superior of the Province of Caxias do Sul for two terms. She led the Conference of Religious of Brazil in Rio Grande do Sul for 3 years and served the people of Rondônia and Conselvan in Mato Grosso with great devotion for 14 years. Serving the people was the great ideal of her life and her great joy. The people were always looking to the Sisters for help in all areas. They, in turn, had difficulty finding time for themselves, because the service in the rural communities was intense. The people had great needs, no priests, and no other religious congregations close by. One of the major challenges was to prepare leaders for work in communities, especially in the celebration of the Word.
For Sister Virginia, her great joy is the joy of the people, to be supportive and a point of reference for them, to know that they can count on the Sisters to be in their midst. As a social worker, she always sought to be a link between the people and the pursuit of their rights. Helping them, fighting for them and being able to contribute to their recognition in obtaining their space, land, and rights has always been her great joy.