Vatican – Sister Mariluce dos Santos, FMA: "With the green spirit, like the Amazon: this is our hope"

24 October 2019

(ANS - Vatican City) - Sister Mariluce dos Santos Mesquita, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, is one of the Brazilian women participating in the Synod for the Amazon, as an auditor. She is currently Coordinator of the FMA Community in the mission of Taracuá, on the banks of the Uaupés River, in the extreme northwest of the Amazon. In an interview with the Salesian Bulletin of Brazil she presented her vocation.

Who is Mariluce?

I am of Bará ethnicity, born on the border between Colombia and Brazil. My birth name is Diatoh, which means "source of water" ... I wanted to become a teacher and I studied and trained with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians ... I had fulfilled what my life project was, but I was not happy because I felt that something was missing and I discovered that my life plan, if it was not united with God's plan, was not worth it.

What are the positive aspects and challenges of the mission?

I consider positive the mission of serving tirelessly, with much love, because it also requires sacrifice, there are no cars, no buses. But the missionary sisters and we are there together. With our way of being indigenous, with our spirituality and our characteristics, we integrate ourselves with the missionaries and live the Salesian charism. Today we are ten sisters of indigenous origin ...

What is your contribution to the Synod?

I gave my first contribution in the consultation that took place in the communities of Taracuá, in the Alto Río Negro ... As an auditor, I listen and listen. And if I still have time to talk, I'll talk too. It is the path that God is tracing me, it is not my choice. There is this feeling of gratitude towards God and, at the same time, a great responsibility to represent my people.

Why is the Synod important?

This Synod is very important so as to listen to hear the peoples of Amazonia, the indigenous peoples who live in this reality. And in doing so, it is already beginning to change the way the Church serves and evangelizes in the Amazon because it wants to draw us closer to Him, Jesus.

What can the Synod do for the indigenous Christian presence in the region?

It can bring hope, a new form of evangelization, more youth leadership. In our indigenous camp, the figure of the permanent deacon does not exist. There is only one priest in the parish and he does not reach all the communities. It is all very difficult, very distant, very expensive. One of the positive points of the Synod's Instrumentum Laboris is to talk about the permanent deacon, because there are families who are faithful, who give a good testimony, married people who live faithfully and could give themselves more to the Church. We have much hope in the Synod, which will help and will be something positive for the whole Church. With the green spirit, like the Amazon: this is our hope!



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