sr. Maria Clara Pires

I was born in Parintins in Amazonia-Brazil in a simple family. When I was a small girl, I learned from my parents the values of Christian life: the love towards Jesus Christ and Mother Mary. I also learned from them the importance of having a generous heart ready to help the neighbours.

One fine day, I was watching a documentary film about a region in Africa that was devastated by the civil war. I was profoundly touched by the images of the refugees camp. They were without any kind of basic conditions to survive. I thought that I should have done something to help those people. I was young at that time but the idea remained in my mind and in my heart.

When I was 15 years old, I began to teach catechism in my parish. I was inspired by the dedication of the Vincentian Sisters and PIME Fathers. Then, I began to think about the possibility of becoming a Sister.

One fine day, after teaching catechism for the children, I received a magazine on catechesis “MissaoJovem”, published by PIME Fathers. While I was going through the magazine I found the address of MSI Sisters. When I read “Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate” I exclaimed within me like Mother Igilda: “I found it, I want to be a missionary!”. Then I wrote a letter asking for the information about this Congregation.

And here I am! During these 10 years of consecrated life I lived many significant moments. But, specially one of the experience profoundly touched me. Last year on 10th January with the “Cenacolo Missionario” group I visited a refugee Camp at Calais in France. Seeing those reality it came to my mind like a replay those images of the documentary film that I watched many years ago. Having visited the refugee camp and distributed food for them and talking with them helped me to think about the reality that reawakened in me the desire to become a missionary.

Today, I thank God for the gift of my missionary vocation and for all the opportunities He gives me in living it concretely. I thank all the persons whom I encountered in my life and all the persons who help me to be strong in my faith and my vocation. I am also grateful for all the present challenges and for those challenges that come on my way. I arrived in the mission of Hong Kong sometimes back and I strongly feel that I can count on Jesus words “without Me you can do nothing” (Gv 15:5).

One of the Words that always accompanied me in my mission is the invitation not to be afraid and not to be discouraged. And in this year of Synod it is the same word I am invited to say to the young people

do not be afraid. If it happens to you young people to listen to the voice of God that calls you through a video or a refugee camp, do not be afraid to leave your “habitual life”, to leave everything and to go. Do not be afraid to become missionaries , to fight for a better world and to build together with others the Kingdom of God.

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