Thirty-three impoverished families in the tiny coastal settlement of Maceió, Brazil, rely on algae harvesting, fishing and lace-making for financial sustenance. Maceió is a Christian Base Community — a group of families that, by living and working together in accordance with the Gospel, liberate themselves from exploitation and minimizing effects of poverty.
For the past fifty years, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have empowered the people of Maceió through Bible study, community organizing, educational programs, financial assistance and business savvy. Establishing cooperatives such as the Association of Cultivators of Algae of Maceió (otherwise known as “ACALMA”) is part of the Sisters’ strategy to help indigenous peoples prevent developers from seizing their rightful lands.
In September 2014, Sr. Katherine (Corr, SNDdeN), with the Notre Dame-AmeriCorps Site Director, Jim Coleman, and the volunteer team in Washington DC, were invited to the White House for a special ceremony to recognize the contributions of AmeriCorps members over the past two decades. This nationwide event included remarks from four US Presidents who thanked AmeriCorps members for their exemplary service. President Barack Obama affirmed the commitment of our members by a reminder that service is “the opportunity to… work together for something bigger, for the common good.”
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Brazil will host the World Cup in June-July 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Mega sports events increase the market for human trafficking. On January 9, 2014, The Guardianpredicted increased child sex trade: Brazil’s Child Sex Trade Soars as 2014 World Cup Nears. The Church in Brazil has chosen human trafficking for the theme of the Lenten Campaign. Catholics throughout the country will study, pray and take action against human trafficking during this season.
Since 2009, religious Congregations from different countries have organized in small groups globally for education awareness, prevention, denouncement of human trafficking, and the protection of actual and potential victims. In Brazil, Sisters of Notre Dame serve with an anti-trafficking group, called Shouting for Life, known in Portuguese as Grupo Grito pela Vida. Read the rest of Sr. Betsy article: Shouting for Life
The Farm Project is another way for IMEC (International Medical Equipment Collaborative) to share resources for sustainability and to collaborate in an educational project in partnership with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. For our schools in Peru, the project will allow for effective teaching and accessibility to resources needed to tend the earth. Sr. Marleny and the staff in the Tambogrande region are planning to extend this learning and make equipment accessible to the students’ families. IMEC is shipping 40 Farm Suites to Peru in this first phase of the Farming Program. Expanding involvement in our partnership with IMEC enables SNDs to bring about growth for more people in this rural area. We are able also to envision new possibilities for our sisters and brothers who live in poverty in other cultures and countries around our fragmented world. Shovels Become Educational Tools
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Peru/Nicaragua Province have accepted a new challenge. They have a new mission in the rural area of Tambogrande, north of Lima, Peru. The Sisters are now administering a network of schools, with a central office in Malingas. Sr. Marleny, SNDdeN is the Director of the Rural Network Programme “Fe y Alegria” No. 48. She is administrator for 31 schools in 15 villages. She works with 100 teachers and a team of 10 people who assist her in accompanying the teachers. There are 2,147 pupils at initial, primary, secondary and adult levels. Learn more… NewChallengeforSNDsinPERU
St. Bonaventure Mission in Thoreau , New Mexico is located in the midst of this beauty and desert poverty. This Mission is an oasis, a special place where Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, with other caring and devoted people from all areas of the United States, minister to God’s people living in poverty. On this Navajo Land, specific ministries include providing housing for low-income families, repairing roofs, delivering water, building outhouses for those with no water, food and other much needed supplies such as blankets and clothing. Many hundreds of donors who assist us by their financial gifts provide these goods and services. Our “Outreach” department provides employment for Navajo people. The major ministry at the Mission is St. Bonaventure School, a preschool and elementary school through the 8th grade. BeautyandDesertPovertyinNavajoLand
Women in Congo bear the load of work in the home and in the fields. Women fetch wood, find food and prepare daily meals while attending to all the needs for their families. The work continues even while women are pregnant. Lack of good nutrition, poverty, malaria, infectious diseases, complications of HIV/AIDS and the inaccessibility of good health care contribute to high mortality of women following the birth of their babies. The babies become abandoned orphans, left to tend for themselves without food, clothing, shelter or education. The Sisters have assumed responsibility for more than 50 orphans in the towns and villages where we minister: Kimwenza, Kisantu, Kisenso, Kitenda, Lemfu, Mpese, Ngidinga, Nselo and Pelende. Continue Reading: Sisters Care for Orphans in the Congo
The people of Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its surrounding villages marveled at the opening of the René de Haes Health and Maternity Center (Centre de Santé/Maternité René De Haes), a new health care ministry of the Congo-Kinshasa Province. In a poor and confined milieu, adjoining the property of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Monseigneur Fidèle Nsielele, Bishop of the Kisantu Diocese, officiated at the opening of this center (“the Clinic”) on October 31, 2009. Many religious, civil and political leaders joined the SNDs and the people for a joyous ceremony of blessing, marking direct access to a clinic in this area, so deprived of medical care for those living in poverty. Continue Reading: SNDsOpenClinicinKimwenza, Congo
“Every day, we help adults, adolescents and children to become conscious of their dignity, particularly through Bible study and popular education.”
Sisters Respond to Needs
On Marajó Island, Pará, Sr. Rita Raboin works with the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission, the Land Pastoral and in community organizing. Due to a precarious system of water delivery and waste control, Marajó’s unhealthy water supply has become a critical issue. Sr. Maria Socorro de Oliveira, returning from English study in Ohio, USA, will soon begin a new ministry among the people in Breves.