Comboni Lay Missionaries

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you stand is holy ground”


This land is called Pau-Brasil, Irajá, Comboios, Caeiras, Olho d’Água, indigenous villages in the state of Espíritu Santo.

I spent nine days with great intensity, important days, beautiful, full of friendship and sharing, we as Comboni Family (priests, religious, laity, scholastics) and the Tupinikim indigenous people, people of this holy land.

The simplicity, humility, sharing, hospitality, are words that I remember celebrating those days.

The availability, tenderness of the families we met, visited, lived, brought forth the beauty of true and sincere principles ​​that value the encounter with the Other and the sacredness of knowing how to welcome.

The Tupinikim people, as all indigenous peoples, fought for the recognition of the land that was always theirs and they lost with colonization, besides losing the right to be resident.

Indigenous land, holy land.

A fight that began in 1979 until 1981 for a territory increasingly exploited by another colonization, a foreign multinational, supported by the lobbies of political and economic power.

Many attempts were made by the police with guns and threats to the Tupinikim in order to leave their land. Many were the processes, finding letters and documents to prove it was an indigenous land and finally in 1993 came the land demarcation and recognition that protects the indigenous territory, their communities and villages.

The struggle for life, fight for rights, respect for a culture that is being lost and resist the increasingly dominant homogenization that wants to treat everyone as objects and consumers.

Threats ended and the law has confirmed a truth that has always existed, now is the time to recover a territory exploited by a (foreign) industry that planted eucalyptus trees at each site by market interests, for the manufacture of cellulose.

The problem is that these trees grow faster and take water from the land, impoverishing the soil and occupying the space of the native forest.

When the weather due to drought does not help, everything becomes difficult and complicated for those who live from agriculture.

Restart, caring for the earth and its fruits, through an indigenous tradition that always respect the Pachamama, living with essentials, is a beautiful lesson of life that indigenous taught us.

In this land we were welcomed, we felt at home and there is no more beautiful thing for a foreign pilgrim that being accepted and taken in hand.

Comboni Family: Father Elias, Father Savio, Sister Josephine, Emma, ​​Wedipo, Cosmas, Fidel, Grimert.

Emma Chiolini (Italian CLM in Brazil)

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