Brazil

Medical Missionaries of Mary first went to Brazil in 1969. Today, our work in Brazil involves fostering good health through education, simple home care skills, and production of natural medicines, working closely with the healthcare teams of the local Christian communities.

Our main focus is in the north-eastern state of Bahia where we have two communities on the periphery of the city of Salvador, the state capital.

MMM can also be found in the city of Sao Paulo among very poor communities on the northeastern periphery in Jardim Angela.

The year 2009 marked 40 years of MMM work in Brazil, and was an opportunity for us to take a new look at the issue of development. This enormous country has enormous needs. You could say a few of us would make no difference, but that is not what the people tell us!

When Sister Siobhan Corkery is asked what we have to learn from our forty years on mission in Brazil, she points to the Church's social teaching on development. She thinks especially of the teaching enshrined in the great encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, published in 1967. This was just about the time MMM was considering our first steps in Latin America.

With the publication of Populorum Progressio, development became an integral question for missionaries everywhere, but not just any kind of development!

In 1987, Pope John Paul II marked the 20th anniversary of Populorum Progressio with his own encyclical on social teaching Sollicitudo Rei Socialis. In it he says, "The process of development and liberation takes concrete shape in the exercise of solidarity, that is to say the love and service of neighbour, especially of the poorest" (n. 46).

The unfolding of the MMM story in Brazil reveals the patient work of exercising this essential 'solidarity' of which Pope John Paul II spoke.

MMMs in Brazil are involved in:

  • Project Consolation: work with families who have lost children through violence.
  • Water Project: building cisterns and VIP pit latrines.
  • Work with St. Vincent de Paul societies helping the poor
  • Women's development: building self esteem and teaching crafts
  • Basic health care: ear cleaning, massage and preparing herbal medicines
  • Pastoral involvement in our parishes, parish council, vocation ministry
  • Mental health issues: Work with special children and families with autistic children
  • Women's pastoral development

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