Associations and Movements
The “Família da Esperança”: forty years of serving those most in need
Giving themselves to God in the service of the Church and all the suffering and outcast, thereby making hope visible around the world
From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, around 1,000 people, who belong to the faithful association, Família da Esperança, came from various countries around the world to participate in a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. It included celebrations, moments of prayer and catechesis in Papal Basilicas, the Roman catacombs, and holy places linked to the history of St. Francis.
40th anniversary of the founding
This is how the association wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding, which took place in 1983 in the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Gloria, in the Archdiocese of Aparecida, upon the initiative of Fr. Hans Stapel, OFM. His desire to live the Gospel in an authentic and complete manner led him to take to heart the situations of need that he encountered through his ministry. This ideal soon involved other people, starting with Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo dos Santos, one of Fr. Hans' young parishioners, who began to approach street youth in the neighborhood. So this is how the men's community life began.
Through the involvement and generous dedication of numerous lay people, soon several houses were opened for single mothers, AIDS patients and homeless families, as well as recovery centers for troubled youth and drug addicts. These places would then take on the name Fazendas da Esperança, because in them, by placing at the center the encounter with the Lord as well as prayer and sharing life and work, thousands of young people were freed from alcohol and drug addictions, thus finding hope for a happy life. Later, the dedication of Lucilene Rosendo and Iraci Leite gave rise, again under the solicitude of Brother Hans Stapel, to the women's branch of the Community. Brother Hans, Nelson, Lucilene and Iraci are considered the Association's four founders.
In the service of the Church and all the suffering and outcast, thereby making hope visible around the world
The numerous communities (Fazendas da Esperança) located in eleven different countries take in more than two thousand five hundred young drug addicts. The association also runs daycare facilities, shelters for men and women with terminal HIV, and, through its "Spreading Hope" project, it involves thousands of young people who devote a period of their lives in about one hundred and fifty different cities around the world where Fazendas da Esperança are present. They give themselves to God in the service of the Church and all the suffering and outcast, thereby making hope visible around the world.
Some years ago, although still fundamental points of reference for the charism, the four founders left the governance of the association, which was entrusted to a new presiding council headed by the Brazilian priest, Father José Luis de Menezes, President of the Família da Esperança.
Challenges and opportunities of a new community experiencing generational change in government
The newly appointed leaders invited the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life to participate in some of their pilgrimage events. The speech given by the Undersecretary of the Dicastery, Linda Ghisoni, for the many members of the association gathered in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on September 28 was particularly noteworthy. In keeping with the new phase that the Association is experiencing, the speech emphasized the challenges and opportunities of a new community experiencing generational change in government. Below is the text along with the speech that the Holy Father delivered the following day, on Friday, September 29, during the audience granted to the Família da Esperança in the courtyard of San Damaso in the Vatican.
06 October 2023
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