If the Lord doesn’t build the house, in vain do the builders labor (Psalm 126).
These were the first words of Mother Maria Sponsa Amabilis about the grace of founding the new Monastery of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla in our province. The founding religious sisters of this new Monastery are Mother Maria de Ainsa from Argentina, and the following Brazilian sisters: Sisters Maria Aparecida, Maria Tinitatis, Maria Virgo Pulchra, Maria Apresentacao and Maria Virgem Menina.
In the time preceding the completion of the Monastery, the following reality became apparent: God in His infinite providence and mercy directs all our works and efforts which otherwise would have been useless if He were not the one who supports us. On April 30th, we were able to harvest the fruits of the seeds planted, having labored for a long time in midst of many sacrifices, work and sufferings.
A little bit of history…
In 1996, three contemplative sisters arrived in Brazil to begin a new monastery of our Religious Institute. The particular prayer intention of this Monastery was to be: “For the life of man in regards to the person and family, for their spiritual and material needs, and to make reparation for those who threaten life, especially for those who promote abortion, and to ask for their conversion.”
At first, the sisters lived in the city of Rio Grande da Serra. During this period, new contemplative sisters arrived to join the community. However, in 1998 after two years, dut to various circumstances, the sisters left this city and went to the Diocese of Santo Amaro. The sisters rented different houses for the Monastery, but none met the required conditions necessary for living the contemplative life. Because of this, they had to close the Monastery in the year 2001, until they could find a proper place to live.
Since then, there were many attempts without success to find land and a proper place for the continuation of this work. Finally in 2008, we started the construction of the Monastery on the same land of our house of formation that had been acquired by the Institute three years before.
At last, we begin again…
The days prior to the inauguration of the Monastery were filled with intense work. All of the sisters of the Province, of the Houses of Formation, and the contemplative sisters of the new foundation helped to paint and to clean. Everyone worked zealously with an immense joy because we were near to the moment of hope and each one cooperated with a great spirit.
The inauguration began with the blessing of the building and later the Holy Mass of Dedication of the Church, “Immaculate Heart of Mary”, which will be used for the community of the Monastery and for three Houses of Formation nearby. The Mass was presided by our Bishop Fernando Antonia Figuereido and concelebrated by almost all of the IVE Priests of our Province.
Among those present at the inauguration were also the seminarians, our benefactors and the families of the sisters. Even the construction workers were present and happily contemplated their work. Also present were some representatives from the important Pro-Life Movement in São Paulo.
The Bishop expressed his great joy at the founding of the first monastery of contemplative life in his Diocese (note that Santo Amaro has over three million inhabitants). In the homily, he said that contemplative religious should always have their eyes fixed on heaven, in order to obtain blessings from God for men.
After the Mass, we continued the festivities with a reception.
“I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10)
We consider the reopening of this Monastery to be something providential for our times when the attack on life and the family is becoming every more intense and the culture of death seems to reign.
For this reason, we want to echo the words of Christ, manifesting to man the love and paternity of God who watches over each of His children: I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). We wish to live radically our consecration and spiritual maternity in the vocation to which God has called us.
We give thanks to God for all the many benefits He has granted us, because if [He] didn’t build the house, in vain would we have labored, as the palmist says, it is He who leads us(Psalm 22). We also want to thank St. Joseph for listening patiently to our many Thirty Day Novenas to him and in a particular way to St. Gianna for her continual intercession.
We entrust ourselves to all of your prayers, that we may be contemplative sisters who are like the extended arms of Moses in the height of the mountain interceding for the people (Ex. 17:11).
In Christ and Mary Most Holy,
From the Land of the Holy Cross,
The Sisters of the Province of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil