Italy: Istituto San Leone Magno, Rome
The Fraternity « Mãe Pastora » (Mother Shepherd) was launched because of a need to carry on a spirituality already known and lived. Four members were part of a youth group called JUMAR, founded by the late Br. Braz Sinigáglia, of the former Marist Province of Porto Alegre. In the course of years, the group changed: some married, others moved away, and others opted for religious life. The truth is that those who had lived Marist spirituality missed the good times shared.
Things being so, one of the members of the former group, Maria Madalena, decided to do something. Without knowing precisely what the call was, she began praying, asking the Virgin Mary and Saint Marcellin Champagnat to intercede on her behalf and to guide her to see what had to be done. The void was great once she left the group.
In talking with her colleagues, she discovered that her need was shared, and an opportunity came to form a mixed group to revive the old Marist spirituality. God permitted that during a visit of the late Br. Blazius Rachor to Nova Andradina, Maria Madalena was able to speak to him of our intention. He had great satisfaction in presenting to us the Champagnat Movement of the Marist Family.
In November 1997, Br. Blazius brought the Project of Life of the ChMMF. In December, we began reading it in a course of meetings and prayer. We discovered that it was really what we were looking for. So the group as such was launched in April 1998, with six members, and over the years other persons have joined us. Br. Blazius was the first adviser, even though he lived in Campo Grande, 300 km from our fraternity. It is useful to point out that this happened at a difficult time, for the brothers were in train of leaving Nova Andradina, which then formed part of the Marist Province of Porto Alegre.
The Fraternity meets once a month and follows the directions of the four pillars. Our adviser is Br. Edmundo Inácio Pina who, while living in Dourados, 200 km away, always tries to be with us. The apostolate of the members of the Fraternity, other than the family domain and the professional witness, is exercised in the parish, where they are known as the « Friends of Champagnat ». The Founder’s feastday is celebrated with great devotion by all the parishioners.
The members of the Fraternity number 14, of very different professions – the women being most numerous – and the children contribute their characteristic joy. The names of the participants are: Florentina Nunes Pereira, Larissa Araújo Pereira, José Aparecido dos Santos, Maria de Fátima, Silva Santos, Talita Silva Santos, Grasieli Ap. dos Santos Pereira, Leandro dos Santos Pereira, Neuza Martins Pereira, Valdetina Martins Pereira, Ivoní Bezerra dos Santos, Lúbna Lutfi, Mohamad Amer, Maria Aparecida Brandão Rosalvo, Paulo Aparecido B. Rosalvo and Maria Madalena B. da Cunha