Luigine Sisters in Brazil

Those who have chosen to follow the Lord in radical fashion, and live in real harmony with the Evangelical Beatitudes, are called to spread His Word no matter where they might be.

Every Christian is therefore a missionary.

gruppo suore luigine brasileThe Congregation of the “Luigine Sisters”, even if not born with a charism “ad gentes,” accepted the urging of the Italian church to launch out beyond its own borders to distant lands. The Diocese of Alba, defined “without borders” between 1960-1970, had sent several of its priests to Brazil to offer assistance to the Bishop of Teofilo Otoni. That mission, however, lacked a female touch and the support of persons consecrated to the same project and to the same choice of life.

The 16th of October, 1967, witnessed the departure from Genoa for Rio de Janeiro of the first 4 sisters (sr. Candida, sr. Redenta, sr. Ada, and sr. Michelangela), aboard the ship Enrico C. with approx. 2000 other passengers, among whom 67 religious, both male and female. “Go throughout the world and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus had exhorted his followers.

The sisters arrived in Rio on the  28th of October  and soon left by bus for the city of Jampruca, and this without any preparation whatsoever regarding the culture of the place, nor the spoken language; the sisters then “dove” into their work, a heavy load because many were the needs and problems confronting them. The teachers dedicated themselves to the young “meninos,” the nurses to the care of the infirm and all together they received, sustained, counselled and helped. But how many glaring injustices! They saw families owning villas, swimming pools, money and goods galore, and a great many other families lacking a decent home and bereft of water and food.

In 1974 another sister arrived, sr. Irene, who as of years already had been asking for missionary work. Every year the superiors would pay visits to sustain their courage and certainty of the Faith. And likewise the Bishops for their priests. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Church set off on a new path, born of a closer look at the existential realities of the Latin American peoples. The church concerned herself with the conditions of oppression and injustice under which millions of God's children were languishing and chose the poor - a choice not particularly welcomed by the rich and powerful. The sisters shared and supported the Church's choice through all the means possible to them and lived in poverty themselves among the poorest.

In 1985, even Teofilo Otoni, where many leading spirits for the liturgy, catechesis and charity had been born, opened the door to other presences and so our sisters move to the North East, to Jauzeiro and Sapè, where they are still active. 

Some sisters owing to age or health concerns have returned to Italy, but their presence had been the reason for the growth in faith and dignity of many persons. Their activity still goes on today, supported by many spiritual leaders and professionals as well as a great many capable and motivated laymen and laywomen.

At Juazeiro the “Health Centre” provides comfort and care through natural medicines; at Sapè, there are many activities and structures dedicated to minors and their families.

And so it is that don Rubino, the Founding Father, through “his Luigine sisters” carries on his charism for the Glory of God and usefulness to one's neighbour.