Sr. Cleide Daniel da Silva was one of our first Brazilian MMMs. She comes from a small rural town in the south of Brazil called Santa Inês. She is one of ten children, nine of whom survived into adulthood, five boys and four girls. Cleide is the eldest of the girls and that may explain her sense of responsibility and her devotion to young people.
Cleide at times appears quiet and reflective. She is a deep thinker but is also able to chatter and socialises with ease. She is a warm, generous person, both with her time and her talents. In her spare time, she makes jewellery as a hobby and loves doing word play puzzles. As a young teenager she went as far in her studies as was possible in the small town near where her father farmed land. When MMM came to run a small rural hospital, Cleide watched the Sisters and became attracted to our way of life. “I liked their simple lifestyle and the warm and caring way they treated people”, she says. “I also liked the fact that they were caring for the sick”.
After joining MMM she became a nurse and has grown in appreciation of the many different ways she is called to heal, both physically with care, but also emotionally and spiritually by listening to and responding to the varied needs she encounters.
After her initial religious formation period, Cleide spent some time in the U.S., learning English and working in a centre for drug addicted mothers and their babies. Then she went to Angola and was involved with primary health care at a time when Angola was just emerging from a brutal, prolonged Civil War with the AIDS epidemic beginning to take hold. A spell in Ireland, at the Motherhouse allowed her to nurse our elderly and infirm MMMs in Aras Mhuire and more recently she was assigned to Honduras until MMM withdrew in 2021. Indeed, Honduras was the country which she most enjoyed. There she worked in health pastoral ministry, with young people, women and with human rights. She acknowledged that the levels of violence are high, that it has suffered from hurricanes and other ecological disasters, but says the people themselves are very warm, supportive and share the little they have. She feels privileged to have worked there.
Now, back in Brazil, she is spearheading a new mission in the Amazon region. It is an area of conflict with a high incidence of domestic violence, a high level of rural urban migration, especially among the youth, increase and high investment in agribusiness. (Many people are exposed to pesticides that large farmers use, resulting in skin problems and lung cancer related to pesticide use – especially people who work directly in the agribusiness, for example, soybean farms).
So, Sr. Cleide has a difficult mission ahead of her, but she knows herself to be persevering and determined. We send her a warm, Brazilian hug and will accompany her in our prayers.