111 little candles for Sr. Irene Lanna
Belo Horizonte (Brasil)
Sr. Irene Lanna is the oldest FMA in the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and, we think, the oldest religious in the world.
Sr. Irene was born in Ponte Nova (MG) in 1903. Her ancestors were of French origin and transferred to Brazil, first to Rio de Janeiro, and then to Ponte Nova. Her father was a lawyer and a Senator for the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
She entered the FMA Institute in 1922, after having received her Teaching Degree. She made her first religious vows in 1925 and her perpetual vows in 1930. For many years, she worked in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Mato Grosso do Sul. She served the Institute as school principal and community animator. She was the first Provincial Councillor in Brazil.
She always lived with serenity and balance, silent and discrete. She was very active and attentive to the young and to her Sisters. When she was asked the secret of her serene and youthful life, she responded, “I always sought to nourish faith and grow in the knowledge of God who loves me so much and is always beside me. The Eucharist is my daily bread”.
In 2011, after the Corpus Christi Procession in the courtyard of Mother Mazzarello House, the priest went to visit the elderly and sick Sisters. Sr. Irene seemed to be in deep meditation. She confided to a Sister, “You know who visited me today? Jesus Himself came. I was very moved”.
She was a decisive Superior, but always maternal and tender with the Sisters, prompt to correct graciously.
Sr. Irene continues to bear fruit with perseverance and with the effort of a life of witness with the joy that comes from unconditional service and giving for the one Lord.
We thank God for the marvellous gift of Sr. Irene’s life. She is a treasure for her family and for us, her community. For us, she is the memory of wise traditions. She incarnates in her life the charism of Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello with true originality. We thank her for her witness of vigilant and prayerful presence in the FMA Institute.