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Joy, enthusiasm, personal commitment and perseverance are signs that lay people have embraced charism of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Congregation.  Twenty years ago, we willingly and enthusiastically accepted the call to heal the wounds of Christ in poor and suffering humanity, within our families and our society. Those who recognize that, in life, one must learn, teach and share. "But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it." (2 Tim 3:14).

aab 02Associates praying in the Santa Isabel Community Chapel
aab 04Associates Meeting. The couple standing: Noeli and Clari
aab 03Associates and Sisters fellowship in Jataí

Having joined the Associate Relationship at its very beginning in Brazil, three of us wish to share with you what an amazing experience it has been to be lay companions of this religious family, here in Jataí. 

We became the Sisters’ Associates by saying ‘yes’ to the Sisters’ invitation (Terezinha Borges), after all we already had been  "living side by side with them while doing voluntary work, both in the parishes and in the John XXIII Daycare Center” (Noeli da Costa) and “identifying ourselves with the work done by the Sisters and befriending them.” (Clari da Costa)

Becoming part of a religious congregation as lay Associates “has generated a feeling of well-being as the ties of our friendship were broadened and became stronger” (Clari).

This decision “helped us establish a lifelong pastoral engagement to strengthen our faith, to encourage us in our daily struggle to reach out, within our physical ability, and exercising our Franciscan passion to serve” (Terezinha). 

It also has “contributed to our personal growth and our personal family life – a result of journeying with the Sisters. The Sisters and Associates share study, prayer and reflection together often, and particularly on special occasions”. Being an Associate has generated in me the desire “to continue to say ‘yes’ to the call, and increasingly embrace our healing charism, by living it in the realm of our families, and of our ministries in fellowship with others who are following the example of Mother Frances" (Noeli).  

Thinking about this commitment “raises the concern that we are doing too little, but it also nourishes the desire to go on living this life, always trying to do more.” (Clari).

As I look into my future as an SFP Associates, I realize that “even as we age, and become more limited, we are still loved and remain part of the family:  communing with Sisters and other Associates, being together in the meaningful moments of our Congregation, and devoting time to praying for all our brothers and sisters, especially those who are suffering, or in need of special attention.” (Terezinha).

Our 20-years of a commitment made for the love of giving and the cause of the Gospel has filled us with joy -- the fruit of living the SFP charism full heartedly.

Associates Terezinha Borges, Noeli and Clari da Costa

Published: February, 16, 2016