Welcoming the Migrants is like a dance
The Migrant Integration Center is located in the district of Brás, in São Paulo – Brazil and is directed by the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. Its main work is to welcome the silent cry of the people who arrive from other countries and cultures and offer training and space for integration.
Besides the support and orientation for documentation and training courses, the migrants also seek out the center to be listened to, to cry, to look for someone who can listen to all the burden they carry inside. They bring a lot of baggage inside, but many times only the clothes they have on.
From the vulnerability and appeals of the migrant people arose the commitment of the center that today is composed of a team of staff and volunteers, including religious men and women, to provide better care and support. *
Today the center has classes in social education, Portuguese for adults and children, English, arts, dances such as zumba, cooking, crafts, guitar, conversation circle with young people, psychological support and a bazaar. In addition, the students of the Holy Spirit School have an afternoon of activities with the children once a week.
During my time at the Migrant Integration Center, I talk to the people who are being cared for, and they say that they feel at home and welcome. For me this is a unique and enriching experience that is opening my heart and my knowledge to other realities and cultures, which is nourishing my vocation and my missionary call every day.
During the preparation for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, we held a triduum in the rooms of the Migrant Integration Center and invited some people to participate. It was like a dance that was widening the circle, because every day other people arrived and got involved in our steps. Sr. Maria Percila Vieira, our Provincial Leader, and I prepared the prayer.
We tried to speak in a language that the children could understand, about who the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are, but one of the children, with her very simple way of expressing herself, caught the attention of all present. She surprised us by saying that the Father has a mother and made a gesture so meaningful that it moved everyone.
Marco Antonio Zaramelli, Administrative Assistant at the Migrant Center also joined in this “dance”. He told us: “Participating in the triduum was very enriching, because we had the chance to meet with everyone and also with the children, with prayers and with songs. It was very good to share this moment of communion, because we left renewed, lighter, and with peace in our hearts.
The Migrant Integration Center is indeed a very welcoming place. Here we end up dancing every day in each other’s footsteps. Sometimes the dance is harmonious and sometimes we step on the other person’s foot, but the important thing is not to lose the movement. When the dance is good, it has many different rhythms and between one dance and another we create harmony and new steps. Here the dance is open to interculturality, interreligiosity, intercongregationality, and intergenerationality, and it is exactly like this, with our differences and in different steps that we form a great dance.
Sr. Janice Santos de Santana, SSpS is a junior sister from Brazil North Province