Sister Anne Bribosia
05/03/ 1943 Brussels – 25/03/ 2021 São Paulo
She travelled so far, researched so deeply, questioning, doubting, rejoicing, always seeking the face of the Beloved among the many people she met on her way. Her life was renewed every day. From her youth, she sought the contemplative life and was particularly inspired by St. John of the Cross. She often spoke of a certain spiritual anxiety, as if her heart was seeking something hidden.
She entered the Congregation in 1963, spent her Noviciate at Verneuil, studied history and taught at Berlaymont for several years. During the 70s, she lived in the first Belgian fraternity at Waterloo. I spent several years with her. She travelled to Brazil where she met and engaged with many people. There, she felt such joy in her heart that she decided to stay. She visited several parts of the country and settled in Amazonia in 1988.
She was born in Brussels in 1943 and lived in Namur where her father was a judge. Her parents had five children and she came in the middle, between two sisters and two brothers. The family was deeply Catholic, which influenced her choice of life. She was always looking for her place in the world, and decided to enter our congregation, possibly influenced by two aunts already Canonesses, Sr Maria Madeleine who spent many years in Santos, and Sr Marie Henri who was in Rome for a long time.
After living in Europe she came to Brazil. Sr Alzira, “my colleague” as she used to call her, welcomed her with affection and they worked among the Amazonian people with love and fidelity which never failed.
At Manaus Anne spent time with the local people, learnt the language and the local dialect, the customs and cultural riches of Amazonia. She helped with retreats in the Conference of Religious in Manaus and at the Biblical Centre. Her biblical and theological knowledge were much appreciated.
She was deeply versed in our founders’ lives and joined international study groups. She often gave courses on their lives, especially when she was General Councillor.
Towards the end of her life she developed Alzheimer’s and joined Alzira in many practical tasks. They made rosaries and necklaces as gifts for people, and did other light domestic tasks. She was always involved in small activities during this difficult time, and her smile, the tone of her voice and her open arms always met us with a heartfelt welcome.
She lived in Manaus until 2019 when the illness which had attacked her too young needed more care. Anne had to go to Maison S. Pedro Fourier, in São Paulo, where she stayed until she died.
Although she spent a long time in Brazil, she always kept strong links with her family and with the sisters of the Belgian Vicariate, cradle of her life and vocation. She also kept up warm friendships in Brazil and throughout the world, friends who will never forget her.
The song she loved above all, “Non, je ne regrette rien”, sung by Edith Piaf, was the soundtrack of her many travels and searches for the face of the Beloved. And, just as Edith Piaf sang at the end “Now I shall begin again” our beloved Anne is now united with the mystery which created her, was the bedrock of her life and welcomed her into its all-embracing love.
Sr Arlene remembers Anne’s final moments as the flight of a bird, free, light and calm as if drawn to a luminous horizon, perhaps a sign of the tender welcome from the Beloved she had always sought.
São Paulo, 12th April 2021