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Laudato Si' Social Center: Nature restored to raise environmental awareness

On a morning with blue skies and lots of sunshine, in a quiet street in a neighborhood on the edge of the main highways in Campinas, SP, a few people take their daily walk, barely paying attention as they pass by. Nobody imagines what is hidden behind the high walls...

When the gates open, we see all kinds of reactions, fright, amazement, sincere emotion that brings some to tears, but never indifference!

This is the Laudato Si Social Center, a new AbmthS space for the development of social projects.

The site was bought by the Sieh family in the 1960s, when the Anhanguera highway, heading inland, was still under construction, and for many years it was leased by a carpentry company. In the 1990s, it ended up in the hands of squatters who didn't take care of the nature of the place.

Although the lake had always existed, the remaining space was a large swamp and many companies dumped garbage and construction waste on the site.

Eleven years ago, Dr. Thomaz Sieh authorized the donation of the site to the association, and from then on, the renovation began. It was years and years of hard work before nature emerged again, showing that despite degradation, it always reacts and survives majestically!

Before & After...

Now the space is receiving its first visitors: - They are men and women over the age of 60 who take part in social projects. From this mission came the inspiration for the name "Laudato Si" for the Social Center.

And the transformation that the site has undergone in recent years is also taking place in the people who have benefited from the space: - A transformation that goes from the physical space to the most intimate part of each person, bringing peace, calm and a joy that often turns them into children...

Lourdes Machado, 72, has participated in the projects offered by MAE Maria Rosa for many years and for her, being at the Social Center is synonymous with joy, a time to forget about problems and recharge her batteries! And there are plenty of batteries to keep Lourdes going!

In the meetings and workshops, many are recovering emotional memories, regaining self-esteem and even improving their health and quality of life by taking walks around the social center, where participants connect with nature with the sound of birds and remember good moments from their childhood and youth!

Juliana Puggina (standing) during a workshop with the elderly at the Social Center.

For therapist Juliana Puggina,"Their emotional improvement is visible and always brings me great joy, because this is a space of exchange and respect, where everyone is welcomed with great love and shares very profound experiences!"

Given all this, we realize that ecological conversion is not a purely human process, but an encounter with God that leads to a change full of Divine grace in the heart and mind.

AbmthS hopes that rescuing this little piece of nature can bring us closer to the proposals of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si, when he states that:

It is this kind of experience that AbmthS wishes for every person who enters the Social Center: - That in every heart that feels impacted by the nature of the site, healing blossoms and the desire to carry out actions that preserve our planet Earth is born!


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