It all started in 1988 when three young women from the Jacana Ward in Sao Paulo, Brazil, felt a strong desire to visit the elderly ladies who live in a nursing home near the chapel.
The initial idea turned into a continuous service project called “Adopt a Grandma” and other young women from the ward soon began to participate. Later on, more young people from two other wards were also involved. Now, there are nonmembers who help with the project.
These youth have learned what it means to have the pure love of Christ. The elderly women in the rest home have different backgrounds and histories. Some don’t even know their parents or when or where they were born.
One of these is Sebastiana Maria Catarina de Jesus; a talkative, cheerful lady who appears quite small in her wheelchair. She does not know her age, and has no relatives nor visitors. She has become a different woman since these loving and giving young people began visiting her. Catarina now feels that she has a family. She loves to spend time with these youth who are her new family.
Flora Esperanca Galassi is seventy-nine years old and becomes emotional at the mention of her family. A surprise birthday party was given to Flora, who is touched as she remembers this precious day in her life. She embraces the young people warmly because they are everything she has in life.
Virginia Fernandes, who looks about seventy-five years old, also does not know when she was born. She walks around the nursing home with difficulty and does not hear very well, but her countenance reflects joy in being close to her newly made friends.
They speak words of support and are always willing to help the elderly ladies, whose simple needs are easily met: a towel to Catarina, clothing to Flora or a cake to Virginia. These young people know that they are attending to the needs of a part of the Good Shepherd’s flock. They freely give of their love, affection, and kindness, which is just as freely returned.