Reconnecting with nature - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Summer 2022 newsletter


Kathy Bond and Flávio Rocha, Brazil

Sunset meditation during the eco-retreat

Warm greetings from João Pessoa. Maya turned 17 last month, and after two years of birthday celebrations with just the three of us — and relatives and friends through Zoom calls — she was able to go to a restaurant with friends to celebrate. In December she will graduate from high school. Right now she is in the middle of the busyness of senior year, studying for the SAT and TOEFL exams and looking at college possibilities. In July, Kathy and Maya will be in the States visiting family, friends and college campuses.

AFYA retreat in April 2022

Flávio and Kathy are facilitating retreats together at AFYA Women’s Holistic Center on the periphery of João Pessoa. The retreats began as a way to offer a space for people to come together and reconnect with themselves, their spirituality and nature.

During Laudato Si’ Week last month, we had the privilege of facilitating an eco-retreat in Barra do Mamanguape, an isolated area of Paraíba state, where a river and the ocean converge, surrounded by extensive swamps. The small village of dirt streets is populated mostly by fisher people who collect clams and crabs in the mangroves.

The eco-retreat was a moment of connection and reconnection with nature as well as an opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective responses to the ecology crisis. Using body exercises, breathing techniques, guided imagery and group dynamics, we hoped to open up a space for reflection, growth and actions with people from different generations; the 15 participants ranged in age from 16 to 73.

Eco-retreat in Barra do Mamanguape, May 2022

One highlight of the retreat was experiencing the elements of nature, especially at sunset and sunrise, through meditation and movement.

Flávio and a Brazilian team began these eco-retreats 12 years ago as a way to explore the interconnectedness of spirituality and ecology. The day-long encounters focused on the deep ecology dynamics that he learned at Creation Spirituality University in California.

We ask for your prayers for our ministries in Brazil, as we hold you in our prayers. In a world of brokenness, may we all follow the Christ’s light of hope and healing.

Thank you for your support over the years. Your donations not only support our ministries but also sustain Maryknoll Lay Missioners and provide the salaries, health insurance and retirement programs for 50 missioners, including our family.

In gratitude,
Flávio Rocha and Kathy Bond

Please consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!


Kathy Bond and Flávio José Rocha
Kathy Bond and Flávio José Rocha are Maryknoll lay missioners based in João Pessoa in northeastern Brazil.