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“For freedom Christ has sent us free” (Gal 5:1).

As a member of CARITAS Sister Jusciêda Maria has been supported it in many ways… On February, 23-24, she supported and participated in the second Formation meeting on Solidarity Finances. It was organized by CARITAS, Salvador-BA, in partnership with the State Government of Bahia.

We know that we are living in the globalized world, which, many times, puts money above human life, economy over solidarity, individualism over a sense of community. We know also, that it is an unjust economic system which excludes the poor who are living in extreme poverty and excluded from society.

We believe that solidarity, with the poor, the excluded, and those threatened in their right to life, especially women, is an essential part of our faith in Jesus, who came to give us abundant life.

So the Formation about Solidarity Finances was a great opportunity to know about many projects that show us a new way to form small groups, especially women’s groups, providing strength and unity, with a new vision about solidarity, women’s power, autonomy and freedom.

The overall objective of the Formation Meeting was to share experiences between the participants, and offer support and knowledge about solidarity finances, – support which can improve the quality of life for our people. It took place in the city of Feira de Santana – Bahia, Northeast of Brazil. Participating were more than ninety-six people and 80 per cent were women.

We heard many experience about how many women, in many cases a single mother, have survived because they are struggled together through Resident’s Association which are gaining strength together with Partner Cooperative. It shows up in attitudes completely different from the cruel neoliberal system that has not managed to avoid the evil effects, which crush the weak and less developed peoples and countries.

Solidarity Finances reveals that a new world with a new mentality about an economic system is possible. In this context, I want to share with you with you what I heard from a small and brave woman. She said to me:

“Sister Ju, I am a single mother. I have two children. My first one is in prison; he is only twenty years old. He does not listen to me. He got himself in with bad people… Only God knows how I feel about it. I carry, alone, everything on my shoulder. We are very poor and in need. I am still standing up and keep going because I have a group that has been supporting me. In our group, we make all different kinds of handmade articles. We use to recycle materials like, the sheet of an old umbrella to make decorative flowers, headbands, tote bags, etc. This women’s group is all that I have, it is everything to me. I am surviving because we support each other.”

When I was listening to that woman, and her wonderful experience, I got tears in my eyes. Thank God that the world is full of good and God’s people.

That woman showed me, that as a Felician Sister, we are called to defend life wherever it is threatened, because “Jesus impels and strengthens us to live his love in service to others while working for justice and peace in the building of God’s kingdom on earth” (Response to Love – Constitution of Felician Sisters p. 44).

We are in the Lenten Season with mourning, and the reading of our hearts and not our garments” (Joel2: 12-13), because the passion that Christ felt for His people is not something of the past. The passion that Christ felt continues down through all of history, and He continues to call us to be compassionate and share his passion for the humanity, especially for the poor and needy. Thank you God, because as a Felician Sister we are on the right path.

 

Sr. Jusciêda Maria Araujo Menezes, CSSF

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