Easter in Saint Monica Homes. Fortaleza, Brazil. Augustinian Recollects. 2024.

With the peace of mind of not having class at school, at the Saint Monica Home, the beneficiaries and those accompanying and caring for them have lived intense days that combined rest, spirituality, and non-routine activities.

On Sunday, March 31, the entire community of Hogar Santa Mónica, a socio-educational project of the Augustinian-Recollect Family in Fortaleza (Brazil) that welcomes girls and adolescents in vulnerable situations was the scene of an exciting celebration taking advantage of the Holy Week and Easter.

Everyone enjoyed a festival full of meaning, marked religiously by the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Easter Vigil, and in the daily coexistence within the institution for carrying out non-routine activities and rest.

Girls and adolescents sent by the authorities live in the Santa Mónica Home competent because, in their context of origin, they have suffered or were at serious risk of suffering any type of violation of their rights, whether abuse, exploitation, abandonment, unschooling, etc.

At Home, they receive a comprehensive education that includes returning to school and healthy daily routines to assume personal responsibilities healthily and surely. They also receive psychological support, adequate food, and a controlled environment that prioritizes the adoption of responsible behavior and positive coexistence.

The arrival of some holidays regarding the classrooms allows the beneficiaries to have another type of experience, outside the routine and without the strict schedules of school time. This atmosphere began to develop with preparations for a very special Easter Dinner. Everyone came together to decorate the space and create a cozy and festive atmosphere.

The tables were carefully arranged and decorated with traditional symbols, such as decorated Easter eggs, and all with a lot of colors, representing the joy and renewal that comes to mean the religious festival of the Resurrection of Christ.

During dinner, the communion among those present stood out and the gratitude was evident. They showed each other for being able to have that joyful and celebratory moment. The menu, of traditional foods offered special symbolism for each food distributed. After dinner, the religious ceremony took place, with reflections on the true meaning of Christian Easter. Through songs, prayers, and messages of hope, the present renewed their faith and found comfort in the love of God that helps them face all the challenges of their lives.

They have been a celebration of rebirth, hope, and unconditional love. The mission of Saint Monica Home goes beyond offering shelter and protection, which is the minimum indispensable; but it is strengthened by filling those lives, that have gone through very difficult times, with spaces of joy and illusion, connection with the sacred, bonds of solidarity and compassion so important for a healthy and happy life.