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Wednesday’s wise women and the Catholic Archbishop

July 4, 2012

My daughter sent me this picture from the recent People’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  I recognised three of the names; Dom Helder Camara, Angela Davis and Tarsila do Amaral.  The rest were completely unknown to me.

Also, I was not sure of their significance as I was sure that at least two of them were dead.  So they were not visiting speakers.  I have since learned that they are simply the names of notable human rights activists.  Their names had been applied to tents used by charities, human rights groups and NGOs as workshops and information centres at the conference.
Amy assured me that they all were wise women except Dom Helder Camara who was a man; also wise.
Amy is aware of my interest in Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) as I have read much and written little about her. When she returned  travelling in Russia in 1932 she became involved with the San Paulo constitutional revolt against the dictatorship in Brazil and seen as a leftist and imprisoned for a month as she was considered a Communist sympathiser.

Also I have read some about the Black Panther Movement and Angela Davis (born 1944)  but was not aware that she is still active.  She was leader of the Communist Party and the Black Panthers in the 1960s and remains active as an educator and author. Davis still participates in social movements and her defense of the civil rights were recognised in 2006 when she received the Thomas Merton award for individuals fighting for justice.

The other name I recognised was Dom. Helder Camara (1909-1999) We have a postcard on our fridge on which is written a quote by him  ‘When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist’ He was a Brazilian Catholic Archbishop; who founded the Banco da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro a charitable organisation that still maintains an active front against poverty and social injustice.

The other three: Madre Cristina (1917-1997), Maninha Xucuru (born 1966) and Olga Benario (1908-1942) were all very active women, wise and revolutionary and deserved of more research.  

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