São José dos Campos (Brazil). On 10 May 2023, the Pedagogical-Pastoral Team of St. Joseph Institute of São José dos Campos, of Our Lady Aparecida Province (BSP) in Brazil, organized the event “Classes and families of the centenary” in view of the Centenary of FMA presence.
Divided into two moments, the event included the presentation of the monologue, “It’s time to remember”, produced and staged by Sr. Maike Loes, FMA, Provincial Communications Coordinator and National Communications Coordinator of the Salesian Network Brazil (RSB).
Classes attending the 1st year of Kindergarten, the 2nd year of Fundamental Teaching, the 6th and 9th year of Primary School were invited to this moment of celebration. In 2026, these students will complete their sector cycle, which is why they have been affectionately referred to as the “Centenary Classes”.
The monologue, “It’s time to remember”, recounts the missionary journey of the first Daughters of Mary Help of Christians sent to begin the work of education and evangelization in South America in 1877. Their mission was the fulfillment of “I entrust them to you” of the Co-foundress of the FMA Institute, Mary Domenica Mazzarello.
The monologue then describes the arrival of the FMA in the Paraíba Valley in 1892, more precisely in Guaratinguetá. This group, coming from Montevideo (Uruguay), arrived in Brazil at the request of Monsignor João Filippo, precisely to collaborate in the education of girls. From Guaratinguetá, Mother Mazzarello’s “I entrust to you” then spread throughout Brazil.
In 1923, two FMA arrived from Guaratinguetá in São José dos Campos. This time, the “I entrust them to you” took place in an unusual way, because these Sisters were suffering from tuberculosis and their coming to São José dos Campos was not in view of a foundation, but exclusively for healthcare. However, knowing the context of the time and the impossibility for many girls to access school, they put their creativity into action. Together with the parish priest of the time, they did everything possible to convince their Superiors of the need to found a day school and a festive oratory in that city.
On 8 March 1926, St. Joseph Day School, known today as the St. Joseph Institute, opened its doors to welcome the first group of students, thus beginning a centennial history and the continuity of “I entrust them to you” of Mother Mazzarello.
The monologue concluded by inviting the pioneers of St. Joseph Day School to the stage, represented by some FMA and educators who today are dedicated to the integral education and evangelization of more than a thousand students who can daily experience the beauty and originality of the Salesian Charism.
In the current educating community of St. Joseph Institute, “I entrust them to you” is a daily exercise, which adds to the educational mission of all the FMA present on the five continents.
Towards the centenary
St. Joseph Institute is the first public school in the city of São José dos Campos (São Paulo), where quality education is offered from Kindergarten to secondary school, based on Don Bosco’s Preventive System.
The School is part of the Brazilian Salesian Network, which currently has more than 100 schools, the largest Catholic network in Latin America. In 2026, São José Institute, known as ISJ, will celebrate 100 years of existence as an integral part of the history of the development and growth of the city of São José dos Campos, and also of the lives of many families who have passed through it, whose bond has never been broken. ISJ makes gratitude its main value, daily welcoming in an embrace of light and positive energy all the students, their families, as well as the Past Pupils.