Brazil, on its knees before its children

 Brasile, in ginocchio davanti ai figli  DCM-004
06 April 2024

“It all began thirteen years ago, amidst tragedy: loss of a neighbor’s child—he was just nine years old. My daughter, Vanessa, deeply affected by the event, implored me to pray for the protection of all children. Moved by her plea, my daughter-in-law and I joined her in prayer. The solace we found in our collective supplication inspired us to replicate the experience within the confines of our parish, St Camillus de Lellis, where we once worshipped. Our initial gathering blossomed into a regular occurrence. What began with just the three of us soon expanded to include five mothers, then twenty, and gradually, others gravitated towards our circle”, recounts Angela Abdo, a university lecturer and consultant within the human resources sector.

Today, a network of at least 62,000 mothers fervently prays for the well-being of their children. Originating in Vitória, the city of its inception on March 30, 2011, this movement—bestowed with Our Lady of La Salette and Saint Monica as its revered patrons and endorsed by the local archdiocese—has proliferated across Brazil. With over two thousand groups of varying sizes, its influence now extends far beyond national borders. The seeds of this movement have taken root in diverse corners of the globe, with an additional thirty groups emerging in locations as disparate as Germany, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Argentina, and Cuba. Remarkably, this expansion was never meticulously planned; rather, it unfolded organically—sparked by chance encounters, serendipitous gatherings, or the migration of mothers who carried forth and replicated the initiative in new places.

Every week, the participants gather in either a private residence or a church, joining together to recite the Rosary and engage in moments of adoration. Following these devotions, there is a period of formation.  At times, the mothers unite in prayer for specific intentions, especially when one of the children of someone present within the group is facing significant challenges. This communal supplication fosters a profound sense of solidarity among the women, as they collectively share in each other's burdens. In this shared experience of suffering, a profound bond is forged—a collective motherhood that strengthens the bonds of sisterhood and solidarity among them.

“Every mother who believes in the power of prayer prays for the well-being of her children”, affirms Angela Abdo. “Yet, there’s a unique strength that emerges when we come together in prayer. Just as Jesus promised, His presence is palpable among those who assemble in His name. Moreover, our collective support during times of adversity amplifies this strength. Solidarity lies at the heart of our movement. We share burdens, lightening the load as we carry them together. This experience has not only enriched my life but has also opened new horizons for countless other mothers”.

“We’ve borne witness to numerous stories of healing—both spiritual and physical—because, as we often affirm, when mothers kneel, children stand. Yet, beyond these miracles, our journey together has cultivated growth within us as women, mothers, and believers. Prayer, does not grant us our desires; instead, it bestows upon us the grace of discernment, guiding us to understand what God desires of us”.

by Lucia Capuzzi
A journalist with the Italian daily, “Avvenire”