Holy Family Region of Brazil

In December 1963, in response to the Holy Father’s call to send missionaries to South America, and in response to a direct request from Bishop James Ryan, OFM, for Sisters to come to Santarém, Brazil to assist the Franciscan Friars in serving the poor in northern Brazil, the first 3 Sisters from St Clara Province in the United States set out on their journey to Brazil.  

After attending a language-training center in Manaus to study Portuguese and the history and culture of Brazil, they arrived in Santarém, to begin their services with care of the elderly, home nursing, and classes in sewing and hygiene.


Many supplies in those early days were sent from their home Province, and were distributed to the sick and needy through an ambulatory service, which was officially opened in June 1964.


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Because of many maternity problems and a high infant mortality rate, a decision was made to build the Holy Family Maternity Hospital, which was dedicated in April 1968, and included a convent and chapel.



In 1970 a midwifery training program was organized for teaching women from the interior.  The hospital remained under the sponsorship of the Sisters until 1986 when it was transferred to the Brazilian Province of the Camillian Fathers.

The mission in Santarém remained under the care of the American Province until 1988 when, in order to provide a structure for beginning a formation program, it became the Holy Family Region under the responsibility of the General Council in Rome.


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It was at this time in 1988 that a formation program was started, receiving the first Brazilian candidates.

Throughout the years 13 Sisters from the St Clara Province served in the Brazil mission. 


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Two American Sisters still remain active in the Holy Family Region, though now the Brazilian Sisters carry various leadership responsibilities, including that of formation.

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