- Title: Se você soubesse a alegria dos pobres
- Title: (If you Knew the Joy of Poor)
- Subject: Church and social issues
Subject: Christian praxis in certain groups of people
- Authors: Michel Bavarel, Nara Rachid Silva
- Format: 16x23
- Pages: 240
- Publisher: Nhanduti Editora 2014
- ISBN: 9788560990207
Michel Bavarel, Nara Rachid Silva
If you Knew the Joy of Poor
(Se você soubesse a alegria dos pobres)
The title is provoking: “If you knew the joy of the poor”. It’s far more usual to speak of the suffering or sadness of the poor. The real joy is the hidden treasure appointed by Jesus. It is a profound, alternative, revolutionary, prophetic experience. It is the mysticism of following the Suffering Servant. It is the life of Alfredinho.
It is the history and the way of ISSO, the “Brotherhood of the Suffering Servant”. In front of the bitter joy of global waste, of an egoism that became a system, of the idolatry of possession and of power, this book invites us to experience, together with the Suffering Servant incarnated in Jesus and in Poverty, the radical liberty of the Beatitudes, the communitarian living of an Easter of Cross and Resurrection.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet:
With great joy I accepted the invitation to write the preface to this book, “If you knew the joy of the poor”, that presents in a pleasing and winsome way the testimony of the lives of Fr. Alfredinho and the people who identified themselves with his spirituality and his way of life, giving birth to the Brotherhood of the Suffering Servant.
Being still a seminarian in Montreal (Canada), I had the privilege to come to know Fr. Alfredinho. I confess my initial embarrassment meeting a priest with such a profound disdain for material goods and such a strong identification with the world of the poor. The manner how he presented himself, together with the serenity and kindness of the way he treated each person, were already an eloquent sermon that questioned the interlocutor or left him or her with consternation, but, in the end, it was a kind invitation: “Come and see the joy that exists among the poor”.
José Oscar Beozzo:
One beautiful day, Alfredinho went to see the bishop of his city, Santo André, Cláudio Hummes, asking for a birthday present to celebrate the 75 years of his life. The present he asked for was the bishop’s blessing for his decision to leave the slum where he was living and to start living among the street people! João, one of these people, asked Alfredinho about his reason to do so, to live in their midst. Alfredinho explained that he was celebrating his 75th anniversary e that he wished to thank God for having given him his life. “The best way to thank him is going to meet the suffering street people, who are receptive people, people who know to share” (p.138).
Nonetheless, according to Nara, his friends in the slum were preoccupied when she came back home on that day: “Some people were crying. They said: ‘Father Alfredinho left us, and he will die from cold and hunger’. – ‘In the street, there is nothing but violence and people who are worth nothing.’ But others made a different reflection: ‘Remember what people said when Alfredinho came to live here in the slum? That we all were bandits, killers, drug addicts, people who were worth nothing!’ The fact that Alfredinho went to live in the streets showed them the meaning of his life for the slum. ‘What did he find here? Our receptiveness, our wish to share, our life of prayer.’ – ‘Because of this, today I participate in the arts and crafts group, in the bread baking group.’ – ‘Because of this, there are now coming so many visitors.’ These people understood that, in the same way, Alfredinho could be received well in the street. ‘He will discover the richness of these people who are suffering, isolated, abandoned, and he will reveal that these people not are what they say about them.’ The slum habitants also changed their view about the street people” (p.139). As Leonardo Boff likes to say: “The starting point for our thinking is the ground where we walk”. This maxim is the key to understand the trajectory of Afredinho’s life. Always, and with always deeper radicalism, he walked on the ground of the poor and lived as a poor the life of the most impoverished and unsheltered of our society.