Blessed Dulce Lopes Pontes, SMIC, is canonized!
Social Works of Sr. Dulce
Sister Dulce (1914-1992) was a member of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (SMIC). She was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil where she was known as the Good Angel of Bahia.
Her baptismal name was Maria Rita de Souza Brito Lopes Pontes. Daughter of Augusto Lopes Pontes, dentist and professor at the Federal University of Bahia and of Dulce Maria de Souza Brito Lopes Pontes. From childhood Sister Dulce wanted to follow Jesus Christ by being a consecrated Religious. On February 8 1932, she became a primary school teacher and in the following year entered the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God in São Cristóvão, Sergipe, Brasil.
In 1934, she professed her religious vows becoming a Sister and receiving the name of Sister Dulce, in honor of her mother. Returning to Salvador, as a Sister, her first mission was to teach in a school of the religious congregation.
In 1936, at 22 years of age, Sster Dulce founded together with Friar Hildebrando Kruthaup, the St. Francis Workers' Union. Along with the union Sr. Dulce founded the St. Anthony School for workers and their families. Also important to responding to the needs of the poor was her participation in creating a hostel for the sick, located in the St. Anthony's convent old chicken coup which later was transformed into St. Anthony's hospital, today incorporated as the Social Works of Sr. Dulce".
Sr. Dulce dedicated her life to the service of the poorest. She would gather the sick she met in the streets and tended to their wounds. She had a great passion for Jesus Christ and because of this saw Him in the image of those needy persons. Her great merit was to listen and to attend the calls of God. If, it was necessary for her to disobey whatever rule or norm that was not favorable to attending such persons who needed to be welcomed, cared for and compassion. She is considered by many as an illumined soul which God sent to the earth to show his love to his creatures. Sr. Dulce had a fragile health but had a vibrant soul very strengthened in the Christian faith. She knew whom she served and was clear about the mission she received, for this reason she fulfilled it with dedication, self- giving and love.
On May 14th, 2019, the Holy See informed us that the Holy Father, Pope Francis recognized one more miracle attributed to the intercession of Sr. Dulce of the poor, beatified in May of 2011 in Brazil. The miracle took place with a blind person who asked the help of Sr. Dulce and was given sight. For this, Sr. Dulce will be proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church. The date has not been communicated as yet, but the decree of canonization was signed by Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 13th, 2019.
Sister Dulce will be the first saint born in Brazil, the country with the most number of catholics in the world.
We are GRATEFUL to God for the legacy of love to the poor, left us by our founders, Bishop Amandus and Mother Immaculata. This legacy which Sr. Dulce, faithful to the call of God, lived it day to day. Our SMIC Religious family is grateful to God for all that He has realized to humanity through the Social Works of Sr.Dulce!
In praise to Christ, We rejoice always in the Lord!
History of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God
Our congregation has its roots deep in the Brazilian soil of the Amazon where we were founded in 1910. Bishop Amandus Bahlman was planning to establish a school in the area of Santarem, Brazil, where the youth could be educated. He returned to Germany to do some fundraising and to try to find a certified teacher to be in charge of the school.
The Poor Clare Nuns in Germany knew of a Miss Elizabeth Tombrock. Ayoung woman who had the teaching credentials that the Bishop was looking for and who had been considering entering religious life following her miraculous healing from Tuberculosis in Lourdes.
They introduced the two and the Poor Clare sisters helped prepare Elizabeth in her early formation for one year. When her initial formation was completed Elizabeth, now called 'Immaculata of Jesus', sailed for Santarem. When she arrived she completed her formation under the direction of four Conceptionist nuns who had been recruited as missionaries to the Amazon by Bishop Bahlman from their monastery in Rio de Janiero. The rest as they say is history!
The Missionary Sisters now serve in Brazil, Germany, the United States, Angola, Namibia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Viet Nam.
Please view this powerpoint on our Congregational Beginning
Please view this powerpoint on our USA Province site