During the period 1998 to 2001 I visited the Base Christian Community of St. Francis Assisi in Sao Paulo, Brasil to learn about the community and join in with voluntary work. This community is a perfect example of a priest and people coming together to improve the quality of life for all.
Padre Ticao had for 25 years inspired, badgered, cajoled and worked with the poorest to make changes for all age groups. Now they build their own homes, have built and run a centre for old age where a meal is given every day (originally funded but now self-supporting), operate 3 creches for the children, provide a centre for the handicapped and a drop-in centre for AIDS advice and support as well as providing many other pastoral care schemes.
A food store supplies the needy. They have invented endless ways of raising money and share everything. All this with constant campaigning for better education, health care and financing from the government – every action taken after continuous prayer.
In February 1998 I was asked by Padre Ticao – when he discovered I was a teacher and a Reiki Master Teacher – to pass on my expertise in Reiki to help his pastoral team to be more effective in their work. Reiki is a hands-on healing discipline. With many prayers and great trepidation I taught 8 parishioners Reiki Level 1 during my first visit, a week filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the 2 years following I returned twice to continue training the team and 69 more students joined the original 8 to form a working, healing community who visited the sick at home or in hospital as well as making pastoral visits around the parish. It was intense very fulfilling work and I had the help of 3 translators to assist me as I went about my business. Many angels were called upon during those times and the support within the parish was fantastic. In true Brasilian fashion we celebrated as hard as we worked.
By the end of my visit in 2000 the total of 77 wonderful people now using Reiki daily to help, heal and inspire was broken down as follows:
39 Reiki Level I; 29 Reiki Level II; 9 Master Teacher Level
The Bishop of San Paulo has founded the charity which funds a group called The Samaritans who educate support and help those who have the AIDS virus and their families. The nine teachers and most of the Reiki graduates work a lot with this group and help is given emotionally, practically and spiritually. It has been my privilege to be part of that and I feel blessed to have done so.
Since 2000, Masters have introduced other people into the Reiki community. I returned in September 2005 to meet the new members, share our life experience and to inspire each other by being together. A report follows. My intention is to continue to develop their training and deepen all our understanding of Reiki energy.
Promises of sharing groups and clinics have not materialised and at first glance it looked like Reiki was not being used. Being with, talking to and visiting my students unearthed a different picture.
REIKI has been for the last 5 years the family therapy. Each family has a story of how the energy has inspired, comforted and been used to hold the family together as well as give them the courage to work, (both voluntarily and for money) and study for qualifications to increase the family income.
The amount of voluntary work being done by Reiki practitioners is staggering and the number studying for higher qualifications is wonderful.
The following are accounts from people who live and work in the community:
EVA is a truly beloved friend to all the people I visited with her. She is very highly trusted and respected:
“My volunteer work is every morning. I am in charge of the funds set aside to help those in need. I keep very strict records of all the money. People come to me for help and can need 5real to buy bread or 100real for a bigger item. Last month I gave away 1200real very busy and some big expenses. I buy a store of food and medicines and distribute that when I visit needy people. We also have some pieces of furniture and clothes and give those out as needed. I started by working with pregnant women and that extended to women with newborns and they are my prime concern but now it has started to include other family members in need. Sometimes I have to make big decisions and I have now got contact with all sorts of organisations that help me to work well. 2 years ago my husband -a university lecturer – had a heart attack and almost died. He is now well but unable to work. Each day we thank God for that and now he drives me around so I can go to more homes. Reiki has been my constant companion and I use it when I am tired, have a decision to make AND I always use it with my pregnant mums. In the bad time it supported me. Working so much with pregnant ladies for so many years made me want to be able to do more so last year I started a course to become a paediatric nurse. I love it and am doing really well. I think that came from Reiki energy.”
FATIMA’s family are wonderful and are working together to improve their lives:
“I knew when I learned Reiki that I would not be giving treatments. It did not seem to be where the Holy Spirit was leading me. I used it for me. I work each morning and earn money for the family. 3 evenings a week I teach older people to read and write ~ they have not had good education – that is my voluntary work. My husband has changed his job since Reiki came to the family and is now driving a school bus and is much happier. Marcio who learned also has completed his studies as a nurse. He got a good job in the hospital but was not happy. He now works in a hospice and his life is good. My other son’s marriage broke down. He has twin boys and each weekend we have them here. When I need energy I use Reiki. It helped me during the break up and also with my mother’s death.”
“Without Reiki I would be crazy. My son in law was knocked down by a car in February 2001 and lay in hospital until May when he died. 3 months later my husband had a coronary. He was seriously ill for months and he has never recovered fully. He needs constant care. My other daughter’s marriage broke down – she now lives with me. I just kept giving Reiki to myself and everyone. My widowed daughter has now got a new husband and they just had a baby – very happy and content- they live with me too. I have built a house for Lily to say thank you for Reiki so that she can come and live with me when she is in Brasil.” (This house is on top of Nininha’s and it has views on 3 sides. Beautiful!)
EUNIDES works with Toninha at Esperanca and are both fantastic women:
“I use Reiki all the time in my work at Project Esperanca (“The Project of Hope” – for Aids) My grandchild was born over 4 years ago and not expected to live – did not want to believe that – my daughter was on the critical list. I prayed and Reikied everyone -me, her husband, the baby, a doctor and a nurse who agreed as well as some of the visitors. It was an awful time and went on for months. The doctors were surprised he had not died after 3 days but I just kept on. One day they both turned a corner together to all the medics’ amazement and he is now talking about going to school. We were told she would never have any more children BUT she had another child at the beginning of the year- both healthy. Now that things are settled I am going to join Toninha and do some sharings and treatments.”
EJILDA is 67 but looks younger than she did the last time we met. Then things were getting on top of her but now she appears very purposeful:
“After Reiki I got it into my head that my daughter who is a single parent with a son had to get a job and get a qualification. She lives with me and I said I would support her. She works in the morning and in the evenings goes to college. Now in her 4th year as a law student. She already has a job offer to do administration in a law office. It is hard work but my grandson is at school now and is a good scholar. I credit Reiki for shifting us and getting us to see we can help ourselves.”
MABEL is a teacher:
“My marriage went on the rocks when my husband became a Charismatic and I had to work. I started teaching Reiki and with little confidence I said “just give me a donation”. I earned enough and in 5 years have taught 350 students. Some have progressed and some have not. I teach from my heart like you. I teach less Reiki classes now because I have a job that pays good wages. I love Reiki and will share it with anyone. My dream has always been to have a clinic. I have seen the picture in my head and I am sure one day when the time is right it will happen.”
Of my original 9 teachers: 1 gone to Amazonia, 1 living in Bahia, 4 not called to teach, 1 who has been teaching steadily and 3 who would love to but without the courage.
It seems that my visit to be with my students was meant to reassure them that what they were doing was ok, that Reiki works for each person as it sees it and it seems in each country as that country needs it. I spent some time teaching and working with the Master Teachers who only needed a little support and encouragement. I spent a lot of time being with them in their homes hearing the stories and sharing real life experiences. No, there is no clinic, no organised community but there are the seeds for the future. Reiki has not been forgotten, is being used loved and honoured. For me at the start I felt a disappointment for them because it appeared as if it had all stopped. That altered when I explored further much to my delight. As usual I learned a lot about trusting the Reiki energy and it gave me plenty of enjoyable times with the Reiki community.