Maria Gorete, Maria de Lourdes, and Maria Aparecida are Brazilian triplets who followed an identical path in life: They became sisters in the same congregation, the Franciscans of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The sisters, who are 57 years old, came from a Catholic family in Aporá in the Brazilian state of Bahia. There, when they were little, they met a religious sister from Italy, Sr. Ricarda.
“She used to visit the communities where we attended Holy Mass and, while the priest was attending to the people, she would gather the children, sit them to the side of an altar, put on a record player and teach us,” said Sr. Maria Gorete.
It was this contact with Sr. Ricarda that awakened in them the desire to join religious life.
“We didn’t know much about it, we didn’t know what it was like, we just wanted to be religious sisters,” Sr. Gorete told ACI Digital.
All in the same convent
With the help of their parish priest, the sisters were eventually able to follow this call. Maria de Lourdes was the first who went to a convent in Salvador to begin religious life. The other two stayed at home to help their mother care for their younger siblings. Maria Aparecida went on to enter the convent a year later, eventually followed by the remaining triplet, Maria Gorete. “It was good to be together, because we strengthened each other,” said Sr. Gorete.
The presence of the triplets was a bit problematic for the other sisters at the convent. They would confuse one of the siblings for another!
“Each one worked in a different place, and when one of the nuns went to talk to one of us and then to the other, they thought it was the same one,” Sr. Maria Gorete told ACI Digital.
The meaning of life
For years now they have followed their vocation in different places. Sr. Gorete works in a nursing home, Sr. Lourdes lives at another convent in Salvador, and Sr. Aparecida takes care of their 85-year-old mother.
“It is worth leaving everything, leaving your family. Not to abandon your family, but to follow what Jesus says: If you want to follow me, renounce everything you have, take up your cross and follow me. This gives meaning to life,” Gorete concludes.