The situation of the Church in the diocese of Feira de Santana:
There is an ongoing political, social and economic crisis in the region. Despite all the economic growth of the city of Feira de Santana, the north-east Brazilian state of Bahia is characterized by great poverty and repeatedly suffers from long periods of drought. The nuns of the archdiocese in this poor region are active in many different pastoral areas. They play a central role, especially in the parishes, which cannot be visited by priests more often. Through this project, ACN helps 12 different communities.
Facing the Covid 19
As is happening all over the world, here also in this time of pandemic, the needs of the poor and most vulnerable have increased. The difficulties of maintaining employment and the reduction or
even the elimination of all income has lead many families to call on the sisters for help.
We received testimonies from two congregations:
The congregation Irmãs do Cenáculo da Caridade provides spiritual support to families and, through the administration of the school Padre Giovanni Ciresola, they provide personalized support for children and adolescents. In this period of social isolation, they continue to help children by donating baskets of basic food supplies. To counter the devastating effects of the COVID19 pandemic in the town of Feira de Santana, the Sisters of the Cenacle of Charity maintain, whenever possible:
– supply basic food baskets to families in peripheral neighborhoods such as Conjunto Renascer, Mangabeira, Papagaio, Parque Ipê and Adelba.
– participate in the initiative of the parish of Nossa Senhora das Graças which consists in a soup kitchen for needy families. They help in the preparation and distribution to 200 beneficiary families.
– distribute food baskets and clothes to people who come to their door for help. In many cases, these people are hungry and the sisters take on their daily meal.
Sr. Giovanni Ciresola says: « The feeling that moves us towards the help received is a feeling of gratitude, because thanks to your help, we can overcome the difficulties and remain firm in the mission of caring for so many brothers and sisters in need. »
Sr Maria Salete Prate, from the congregation Irmãs Ministras dos Enfermos de São Camilo explains to us: « Our religious charism is to bear witness in the world of the merciful love of Christ in the midst of the sick and the suffering. We are a community of four sisters and work in one of the outskirts of the town of Feira de Santana / BA, where many people are in need due to the high unemployment rate. Hunger is the main challenge, many mothers come to our door asking for something to eat. We visit the sick at home, we read the God’s Word with them and bring them the Eucharist, a sign of hope in the midst of pain. Often for those who are abandoned and alone, we clean their house, we help them in their toilet and prepare a meal. »
“We live in a period of great suffering and insecurity due to COVID19. Many people have already lost their jobs and are desperate and depressed and also need our support, our listening and our
advice. Here in Feira de Santana, we have so far had 79 confirmed cases and 1 death (on 30/04/20). We follow the directives of the public authorities and the Health Secretariat, living in a regime of social isolation. We have made our social service a collection point for food, clothing, hygiene and cleaning products. We obtained several donations and managed to distribute them to people in need. We decided to make masks to give to the needy population. The work is done by the sisters in collaboration with the volunteer women of our neighborhood, those who in one way or another
are also helped by social work. More particularly in this pandemic period, we try to help all the people who come to our home and who need psychological support. Those who suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure and depression. We have a religious nurse and offer several therapies: Reiki, massage therapy, foot reflexology and auriculotherapy.”