Focolare Little Town
Brazil has the fifth most powerful economy in the world. It covers 8.5 million square kilometres, and its almost 200 million inhabitants, descendants of white colonists, black slaves and indigenous peoples, as well as other immigrants from every part of the planet, all speak a single language: Portuguese. It is a country the size of a continent, with varied climatic and geographical conditions, enormous natural resources and a powerful potential for growth. It is a country that is also marked by huge social contrasts, which are growing somewhat less, thanks in part to the efforts of the last governments. It faces the challenges of a young democracy, of a nation that has emerged from military dictatorship less than thirty years ago.
It was here that in 1991, Chiara Lubich, struck by the tremendous social problems, launched the basis for a real revolution in the economic field with the Economy of Communion (EOC), a project now known throughout the world. But the Focolare’s experience in Brazil has not only developed in the area of economics. It has had effects on the whole fabric of society: on education, health, politics, art, human welfare – as witnessed by the experiences of Santa Teresinha and Magnificat in the North East, of Bairro do Carmo e Jardim Margarida in São Paolo – and likewise in a whole range of areas of research. An example of such academic study is the group looking at ‘Law and Faternity’, which began in 2009 in the ‘Center of Juridic Sciences’ in the Federal University of Santa Catarina.