A Focolare community in the Fazenda da Esperança

A Focolare house opened on 14 March within the community of Guaratinguetá, in São Paulo state, Brazil. The charism of unity is a fundamental part of the Fazenda recovery program for people affected by addictions.

“What’s the secret of a life which spreads so quickly around the world? We haven’t done it, it’s God in us who does it”. In this way Father Hans Stapel explains the development of the Focolare Movement and the Fazenda da Esperança in many countries.

On 14 March a Focolare community house “Maria Madre della Speranza” was opened in the city of Guaratinguetá, in the state of São Paulo. This new house is home to a group of Focolarini from different regions of Brazil, all working at the Fazenda da Esperança.

“Through the communion between two charisms which are so closely linked, from the same roots, our mission is to try to heed the cry of humanity, to be close to those who suffer, the excluded, to give our life ever more fully to Jesus in these situations. In this way we too will bring to the world the light that comes from the presence of Jesus among us”, says Gustavo Matsumoto, one of the members of this new focolare community.

During a thanksgiving Mass, Fr Hans – who together with  Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo dos Santos, Lucilene Rosendo and Iraci Leite founded the Fazenda da Esperança – reflected on the 13 years since Chiara Lubich’s death. He explained they were inspired by the Focolare charism, which became the foundation of the spirituality of the “family”. The Fazenda da Esperança is a therapeutic community. Since 1983 it has worked with those recovering from alcohol and drug addictions. Their method is based on three main aspects: work as a pedagogical process, family life, and spirituality to find meaning in life. There are already over a hundred such communities in America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The root which nourishes the Fazenda da Esperança is the same as the Focolare Movement, demonstrating the same desire to put the words of the Gospel into practice, above all the experience of reciprocal love.

“I think Chiara would be very happy to see this dream become reality. Two ecclesial realities living in full harmony and unity, to heal many wounds, especially where the poorest and marginalized are living, particularly those suffering from addictions”, Margaret Karram, new president of the Focolare Movement told them, via online link. As well as those overcoming dependencies, for the past year the Fazenda da Esperança has been welcoming homeless people, who are more vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil.

“The Focolare Movement was born during the war. Today we hear of so many deaths from Coronavirus. In all this suffering we see the possibility of giving new life to a new humanity”, said Fr Hans.

 Nicole Melhado

The opening of the Focolare house at the Fazenda da Esperança can be viewed: Abertura do Focolare na Fazenda – YouTube

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