THE SEED WAS SOWN
The seed of this tree spread to JOAQUIM GOMES – ALAGOAS – Brazil
“The wind blows where it chooses” (Jn 3:8). We can understand this by the arrival of four young Italian Sisters of St. Joseph of Pinerolo, in 1987 to this small town in the poor northeast of Brazil: Joaquim Gomes-Alagoas. It’s 77 km away from Maceió and 230 km from Recife. JOAQUIM GOMES/AL was the territory of the Urupês Indigenous people. This area was occupied by the Portuguese in the colonial period, for the cultivation of sugar cane. Now, the indigenous tribe is called Wassu Cocal.
In 1962 the municipality was founded. The region is still a large sugarcane producer, which is the source of the livelihood for the people. Its area is extended to 238.59 km2 with a population of 24 thousand.
PRESENCE AND ENGAGEMENTS
The patron Saint of the parish is St. Joseph the worker and the parish priest is Fr. Cesário Borba who is a Brazilian. This region is also blessed with significant presence and work of 20 lay Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery. Through their involvement in the lives of the people they try to make the Charism of Communion alive.
THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF PINEROLO (Italian): Srs. Maria Teresa, Angelina, Vera and Nemesia arrived in this city in 1987. Many sisters worked with dedication in this area for long years. At present Srs. Myriam (Italian) and Riziomar and Rosa (Brazilian) live this area. Currently these three courageous sisters of COMMUNION, blessed daughters of Fr. Medaille are engaged in:
- Pastoral engagements: Pastoral care of the elderly; Missionary Childhood, Holy Childhood Association, Catechism; Monitoring of communities in the neighbourhoods, training and monitoring of rural and settlement of communities and celebrations.
-Social Centres: St. Joseph, Our Lady of Aparecida, Mother of Hope and Mario Felippo. In each Centre, there is a Little School that brings together children aged 3 to 6. We have Projects for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 with different activities such as tutoring, handicrafts, dance, sports, music, cooking, etc. We serve 450 children/teenagers in these four social centres. 38 employees work in these social centres. All activities are 100% free of cost.
- Novo Horizonte Community Garden is given 7 hectares of educational space for our children and teenagers for horticultural training. This project is in partnership with the Pastoral Land Commission to the training of people in farming.
From where do the funds come for all these activities?
- Association of Italian families.
- CEI – Italian Episcopal Conference.
- Small amounts from City government, Mayor.
- Small amounts from the “Nota Cidadão” program.
- The Congregation of Sisters.
Written by: Sr. Dominga