The Province ‘Mother of Providence’, based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, sees in the field of hospital healthcare one of its main mission. In addition to its three own hospitals, it manages a fourth hospital in partnership with the city of Porto Alegre. These are organized and managed by the "Divine Providence Health Network", which in turn has the responsibility and professionalism of a team of lay people. We, the Providence Sisters, believe that concern for health is an expression of our charism, because our goal is to give life-dignity, especially those who cannot afford to pay the high cost of hospital treatment; and it belongs to the prophetic mission of the Church and of Religious life to defend endangered life.
In 2018, the Sisters from the congregation "Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity" visited us and asked to continue their „Estrela-Hospital" because they were no longer able to continue this work. The hospital is in the town of Estrela / RS - 150 kilometres from Porto Alegre - they celebrate their 90th Anniversary of Foundation in April 2019. Between the two provinces many discussions and considerations with regard to a mutual support have taken place, which also would be the best for both congregations and for the people, who claim health care there. On 14th November 2018 it was made publicly known: the Franciscans will give the entire hospital with a capacity of 150 beds and 36 disciplines over to the Sisters of Divine Providence.
On 01st January 2019, the Sisters of Divine Providence have officially taken over the Estrela Hospital. The Franciscans are still present on the compound and carry out pastoral work and take care of the hospital chapel. On 16th December 2018, there was a Eucharistic celebration in the parish church, to bid farewell to the Franciscans and to introduce the Sisters of Divine Providence.
On 27thDecember, a farewell service was celebrated in the chapel of the hospital. On this occasion, the Bishop Dom Carlos praised the joint action of the two congregation and said among others:
"The dedication, which the sisters gave during almost 90 years to the hospital, cannot financially be assessed, because dedication is priceless. Therefore, the hospital could also only be given over as a present, as it is the case now ".
The provincial head of the Franciscan sisters, Sister Mônica, thanked for the tireless efforts of the staff and of her own Sisters, as well as for the support and contribution of the local community. She was sure that in this historical moment, God’s call on them was met. Sr. Inés Pretto (outgoing coordinator (head) of the province ‘ Mother of Providence’) and Sr. Sandra Maira Pires (newly selected provincial coordinator of the province ‘ Mother of Providence) thanked for the trust put to them and expressed their commitment to continue the good work performed in this hospital.
We are convinced that the cooperation between congregations will increasingly be the way so that religious congregation would be able to continue to perform their mission and thus ensure the rights of impoverished people.
The word that refers to this step is ‘trust’. The trust that identifies us as Sisters of Divine Providence, it strengthens us to assume this major responsibility. The political and economic uncertainty currently experienced in Brazil, can be envisaged only in an attitude of faith and prophecy, without neglecting doing the professional competence and the common work between laity and sisters. We believe in the words of our founder, Eduard Michelis: "Joint actions (cooperation) give invincible strength".
(the Sisters from the Province Porto Alegre)