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Labrea joyfully celebrates three missionary sisters` Golden jubilee


Labrea joyfully celebrates three missionary sisters` Golden jubilee
03-04-2018 Brasil
Itárica Zandonadi, María Josefina Casagrande and María Helena Petri, are the three well known religious sisters in the Amazonian mission and that have celebrated fifty years of consecrated life.
The Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters and the Prelature of Labrea in the Brazilian Amazons have had a long history of commitment for 64 years. They arrived to the mission in 1954 to be in charge of the Educandario of Saint Rita. A history well known by the catholic and non-Catholic locals.

The sisters` contribution to education, human rights and development has always been of great importance, especially with catholics in the villages of the riverside and inland.
This is why any celebration concerning the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters is automatically a celebration for all the locals. The parish of Our Lady of Nazareth dedicated three whole days of thanksgiving celebration to God and the sisters for their 50 years of dedicated service.

All of them have left the best of themselves throughout their years of service with the people of Labrea. Sister Itarica Zandonadi, is actually still serving in the Amazonian mission.

To join the sisters in their celebration, the small communities organized a triduum of prayer of thanksgiving and offering talks and activities that had to do with vocations. Some topics were: “Baptism, source of all vocations”, “Family, birthplace of vocations”, and “Consecrated Life, a calling to serve the Church”.

The present community in Labrea (Itarica, Eremita, Jacira e Ivone) visited each community during the triduum celebration to share their own vocation story and their joy for this jubilee.

One of these communities has St. Joseph as their patrón saint, and his feast day came during the triduum. Santiago Sanchez, bishop of Labrea, presided the Holy Mass in which Itarica and her absent classmates were given an emotional tribute for their golden jubilee.

Itarica received a special gift in this liturgical ceremony; a framed image of Our Lady of Nazareth, the patroness of the parish, and a wooden replica of the Regnum Tuum, the boat on which Sister Itarica visited the small riverside communities during many years.

The community of St Joseph also gave her a wood covered book with her biography and many photos. The motto that has inspired Sister Itarica throughout her consecrated life was also mentioned: “Faith, Mission and Martyrdom”.

The residents of Labrea prayed with enthusiasm for vocations and for the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters that have given the best of themselves to the mission. The living example of Sister Italica has been of great use to awaken more hearts dedicated to the missions in all the Catholics of Labrea.

Sister Itarica has dedicated 18 of her 73 years of life. She`s originally from the rural region of Afonso Claudio, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Espiritu Santo. She first felt a calling to the religious life when she was 13 years old, and at the age of 19 se took the final decision to enter. She once told her mother: “My life is not here, but in the religious life”.

Thanks to her family`s support, she travelled to the capital city of Vitoria to start her formation with the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters. She made her vows at the age of 23 and went to Rio de Janeiro and back to Castelo close to her birthplace.

She arrived to Labrea in 1985 at the age of 33. Immediately giving special dedication to the riverside communities, visiting each individual family and evangelizing the most disadvantaged village. She was greatly committed to defending the people`s rights, especially the poor, and denouncing political corruption, which brought her threats and backlashes from the police.

She is now working with basic ecclesial communities: “If necessary, I`d do it all again for the good of God`s Kingdom”.

The people of Labrea remembers warm-heartedly all the dedicated work the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters have done. They are always embraced with great joy by the locals who are willing to continue working restlessly by their side.


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Augustinian Recollects. Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Paseo de la Habana, 167, 28036, Madrid, Spain. Telephone: 913 453 460. CIF(fiscal registration number): R-2800087-E. Entered in the Register of Religious Organizations, of the Ministry of Justice, number 1398-a-SE/B. Privacy policy.
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