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August 2013

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In This Issue
Finding Liberation in Personal Expression
Using Drama to Heal Trauma
The Healing Arts
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Liberation through Personal Expression

Accumulating learning materials and art supplies is almost impossible in the impoverished area of Brazil where our Sisters work. That's one reason why our Sisters rely so heavily on the dramatic arts -- nothing is needed except imagination.
But for those who learn more effectively through writing or tactile manipulation, the act of sculpting, drawing or creating written reflections is more productive. In any medium, the pivotal point is for the artist to express and symbolize oppression in order to reach understanding and liberation.
Using Drama to Heal Trauma
At the Sisters' Education Conference in Boston last July, Sister Lucyann shared her expertise in using the Theatre of the Oppressed with teens.
 Everyone knows that play-acting can unearth buried truths. Our Sisters frequently rely on the dramatic arts when helping those living in poverty identify and overcome family dysfunction and social injustice. This is especially true in Belem, Brazil, where Sisters employ a unique dramatic model known as Theatre of the Oppressed. Brazilian artist Augusto Boal developed this theatrical method encouraging  interaction between actors and audience during the 1970s. Play-acting  helps troubled youth come to grips with personal destructive behaviors and debilitating societal forces. Providing opportunities for reflection through the arts helps youth develop effective coping skills and creative strategies.
The Healing Arts
No matter how you spell it, art leads to new insights and critical reflection -- all of which can lead to more productive behavior.
In impoverished neighborhoods and indigenous villages of northern Brazil, educator and librarian Sister Lucyann seeks out young people struggling with drugs, oppression, prostitution, homelessness and hopelessness. Her mission? To share with them the Good News of the Gospel. In addition to the Theatre of the Oppressed, Sister Lucyann uses arts and crafts, music, dance and Bible Study to help youth imagine new, more productive ways forward. The program encourages young Brazilians of European descent and indigenous youth to work cooperatively with one another. Building community is at the heart of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur mission.
Heading to Target or Walmart for school supplies is a ritual at this time of year in the U.S. But for families in remote and impoverished villages in Brazil, accumulating art and learning materials is an impossibility. There is no money for such "luxuries."
As you purchase school supplies this month, please remember our Sisters' Brazilian students. When you donate to our  Latin American projects, you will be providing these young people with more than paper and colored pencils. You will be sharing with them your faith in the Good News of the Gospel.   

With a grateful heart,
Sister Leonore Coan 
Director of Mission Support