MMM Communications, Rosemount, Booterstown, Co. Dublin, IRELAND.
Mission Development 4425 W 63rd St., Ste 100 Chicago, IL 60629-5530
Medical Missionaries of Mary first went to Brazil in 1969. Today, our work in Brazil involves fostering good health through education, simple homecare skills, and production of natural medicines, working closely with the healthcare teams of the local Christian communities.
Our main focus is in the north-eastern state of Bahia where we have a community on the periphery of the city of Salvador, the state capital. A second community lives in the rural town of Capim Grosso, in the interior of the state. Our latest mission in Brazil is in the city of Feira da Sant'Ana, two hours journey east of Salvador.
MMMs can also be found in the city of São Paulo - among very poor communities on the northeastern periphery in Jardim Damasceno, and at Vila Bela Vista in the southwestern periphery.
The year 2009 marked 40 years of MMM work in Brazil, and was an opportunity for us to take a new look at the issue of development. This enormous country has enormous needs. You could say a few of us would make no difference, but that is not what the people tell us!
When Sister Siobhán Corkery is asked what we have to learn from our forty years on mission in Brazil, she points to the Church’s social teaching on development. She thinks especially of the teaching enshrined in the great encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, published in 1967, just about the time MMM was considering our first steps in Latin America.
With the publication of Populorum Progressio, development became an integral question for missionaries everywhere, but not ‘any old kind’ of development!
In 1987, Pope John Paul II marked the 20th anniversary of Populorum Progressio with his own encyclical on social teaching Sollicitudo Rei Socialis. In it he says, ‘The process of development and liberation takes concrete shape in the exercise of solidarity, that is to say the love and service of neighbour, especially of the poorest’. (n.46)
The unfolding of the MMM Story in Brazil reveals the patient work of exercising this essential ‘solidarity’ of which Pope John Paul speaks.