The main mission of the monks of our São Bento Priory in Vinhedo, São Paulo, Brazil is to serve the people through pastoral work and the activities at Siloé Retreat Center. They have been doing so since 1964 when the first missionaries from Saint Vincent Archabbey arrived in Brazil. As the Brazilian monks take over these responsibilities, they continue to honor the original mission and embrace the challenges of a new century.
Equally important to our mission in Brazil is the work done in support of the ministry of the Missionary Sisters of Christ, who not only assist destitute children and youths in the poorest neighborhoods of Jundiaí, Brazil, but also are active in ministering to impoverished communities in the state of Pará, in the Amazon Forest region, where women and children have been exploited and abused for many generations. Breaking the cycle of abuse is a challenge, and the Sisters are now struggling to establish shelters where these women and children can be removed from the home situations that facilitate their exploitation.
An important component of this outreach to the Missionary Sisters of Christ is the service of the students of Saint Vincent College who, for several years now, have been helping to disseminate these seeds of hope in Brazil by volunteering to engage in service to the poorest of the poor there during Spring Break each year. These seeds of hope are spread not only in Brazil, where those in need benefit from the care and compassion of our young volunteers, but also back in the U.S., where our young volunteers are forever changed by the experience of being able to make such a positive difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.