New healing ministry in Brazil (Sep. 2011)

Brazil Miranilza with victim

Sister Miranilza with a young man who was shot in the back.
The Project helped him to get his ID card so he could claim benefits

Our friends helped MMMs to support those affected by violence with a new healing ministry in Brazil.

In the city of Salvador, north-east Brazil, more than 15,000 people were victims of homicide in the past fourteen years. This year we opened a House of Consolation in this city to accompany families bereaved by violence. Now an international team of MMMs: Sisters Sheila, Miranilza, and Regina, with Rita Silva, an Associate member of MMM, work full time to address the pastoral, social, psychological, and legal needs of victims families. Stigmatization by neighbours can be an added burden.

Our Area Leader for the Americas, Sister Jean Clare, said, 'The first person I met as I entered the centre was a grandmother who had lost five members of her family. These families are so grateful that members of the Project Team visit them, listen to their story, and connect them to one another and to available services.'

A mother who lost two sons and cares for a third confined to a wheelchair because of a bullet in his spine was helped to claim her pension. The project includes other neighbourhoods with workshops on human rights and dealing with trauma. Awareness is raised using radio interviews, newspaper articles, and blogs.

Brazil Sheila Campbell with a woman

Sister Sheila with the brave grandmother who lost five family members.

Sister Sheila is from Belfast, a city that has known its share of violence. During seven years in Salvador she has been providing healthcare to women caught up in the violence of prostitution and has helped them to find alternative ways of earning a living.

Sister Miranilza, from Brazil, who made her first profession in MMM last year, spent time in Rwanda during her novitiate. 'The people there are still dealing with the horror of genocide', she says, 'but there is something of the pain I sensed in Rwanda here, too, in Salvador'.