DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.
On Christmas night of 1597, in what was then the Duchy of Lorraine but today is part of France, Alix and her companions consecrated their lives to God: the Congregation of Our Lady, Canonesses of St. Augustine, came into being.
Supported by Pedro Fourier, the parish priest of Mattaincourt, these young women undertook ‘to do good in every possible way’.
Let us fast forward to the beginning of 20th century, where we will find that the Congregation has spread throughout Europe and is about to arrive in another continent. In 1906, sisters came from Europe to Brazil and founded the first house of the Congregation in São Paulo. The first sisters to tread on Brazilian soil were Srs. St Victor, St Ignace, Marie Gabrielle, Germaine and Patricia. To get here they had set out from Belgium on what must have been a very long and arduous voyage across the ocean.
From this tiny seed, the Congregation grew, welcoming young Brazilians who wished to continue Alix´s mission. Following in the footsteps of Pedro Fourier and Alix, sticking close to Pedro’s motto: “Good to all, harm to none” and those who have carved out the path that they now tread our sisters are the beating pulse of the vicariate. You will find them in a variety of Brazilian states: the Amazon (Manaus), Maranhao, (Lago do Junco), Ceara, (Juazeiro do Norte and Fortaleza), Paraiba, (Joao Pessoa), Pernambuco, (Recife), the Federal District of Brasilia, Goias, (Goiania), Sao Paulo (capital & Santos); Minas Gerais, Cambui, and Rio Grande do Sul, ( Porto Alegre and Erechim).
Today, 100 years since the beginning of the Congregation in Brazil, a new project, in its chrysalis stage, is underway: to start a community in the Amazon where Brazil borders Peru and Colombia: ‘Tres Fronteiras’.
The inspiration for the project comes from the sisters efforts to put into practice the words of Jesus’ mother to the servants at the wedding feast of Cana: “DO WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU“
To do whatever Jesus says is at one and the same time an ideal always beyond their reach and also what impels them forward throughout the whole of their lives. It challenges anyone with a zest and taste for life who is not content with merely a routine existence, to engage in what is a constantly changing creative process. To do whatever Jesus says is to follow where he beckons; it is a path that leads to the growth of self and of helping the other to grow; it is to work at rebuilding the world on the twin foundations of right and fair relationships; it is to build the Kingdom of God here and now.
So where and with whom will you find us engaged in rebuilding ?
Throughout the school system :
in state and private schools from Early Years to Secondary – in schools run by our sisters or by other bodies;
In centres offering educational activities and alternative cultural programmes
these may be run by our sisters or by other entities, for example, Sedes Institute, Santo Agostinho Centre/Erechim, CEEP/Paudalho, Itinerant Team, Educational Association Livro em Roda and others;
In areas of work, both permanent, peripatetic as well as temporary as well as future employment :
pastoral work and teams, centres of religious, biblical and theological formation, basic Christian communities, catechetics, liturgy, prayer groups, parishes and parish coordination teams, hospitality of pilgrims. Our sisters are also involved in ‘Redes dos movimentos’ and grassroots’ organizations, public services, human rights, advisory roles, scientific, literary or artistic production, healthcare, hospitality, prayer, future activities in schools, prisons and other institutions, and also involved in the Brazilian Conference of Religious in the organization and promotion of religious life.