Where-Brazil-1On January 30, 1964, after several months of negotiations with Bishop A. Schuck, OFM, three Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother from the United States arrived in Brazil, in São Miguel do Araguaia, Goias. Here they opened a parish elementary school. Later on, the community moved to Goiânia, to carry out the same education ministry. In the following years, with the arrival of sisters from other parts of the congregation, other houses were opened in the States of Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso, and for a short time in the State of Paranà. The SSM’s are now present in Goiânia, Goias; Nova Xavantina, and Mato Grosso in Salto, Sao Paulo.

In Goiânia, in the Mãe Dolorosa Convent and Mother Olivia Benz School, the sisters, in collaboration with lay personnel, provide basic and alternative education programs to nearby children and adolescents. The goal is to combat youth problems and child exploitation. The sisters at the convent also offer hospitality to organized groups for retreats and meetings in collaboration with the local church.

Where-Brazil-2In Nova Xavantina, the Don Bosco Center offers educational programs for kindergarten, elementary and secondary/high school. In order to prevent youth problems, the Center offers sports, classes for technical skill development and artistic activities. St. Francis of Assisi University also offers evening classes so that the young people are able to complete their education. The community of the sisters, assisted by lay staff and students, continue to serve the Xavantes Indians in the Aldean Region. In these places where infant mortality is very high they try to use natural resources as much as possible and offer educational programs in health and nutrition to promote dignity and well-being.

The sisters of the region are also involved in youth ministry in the parishes and schools that they manage. Through the annual Franciscan March they invite young people to participate in week-long activities that integrate human and spiritual development opportunities.