Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Sister Rebeca Spires

Rebeca Spires with her sister Mary Alice, now an Associate of Notre Dame, became Catholics at an early age when they transferred to St. Leo School in Columbus, Ohio. They both attended St. Joseph Academy. Rebeca entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at the end of her junior year. After five years in initial formation at Mount Notre Dame, she returned to Columbus to teach middle grades at St. Agnes parish school, then served in Arizona for two years at parish schools where she had a wonderful experience among Chicanos and other migrants Then, she taught another year in Dayton before going to Brazil in 1970. In Brazil Sister Rebeca worked among farm workers with Sr. Dorothy Stang until 1974 when they moved to the state of Pará in following the migrating farmers. From 1979 to today, she has been working full time with indigenous populations. Proclaiming the Good News among indigenous peoples takes many forms, such as teacher training, creating alphabets and written forms for oral languages, defending and advocating for indigenous territorial rights as well as for Mother Earth’s rights to respectful treatment, and always celebrating God’s goodness in the most diverse ways with peoples of very distinct religious expressions. Sr.Rebeca works with a team that believes in formation through information which they bring to the Indians through a magazine, radio and TV programs, DVDs e-books, didactic materials in Indian languages. Presently Indian Theology is the main thrust of this ministry which is constantly opening new worlds to her. She is also on the Brazil Province Formation Team which happily accompanies nine Brazilian sisters in initial formation.

A sister of Notre Dame since 1958 and missionary in Brazil since 1970, Sister Rebeca’s main ministry is with indigenous peoples in the extreme north of Brazil. At present, the main focus of the mission is the formation of indigenous ministers of the sacraments.

Since 2014 Sister coordinates the Mission at the Borders:Brazil,Suriname and French Guyana which reaches out to migrants and victims of various forms of exploitation.

When in the city of Belem, where the Indian Mission Council has headquarters, sister is in constant contact with her friends the street dwellers who are a constant reminder that Jesus is in our midst – always and forever.   

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