Lima (Perù). On 22 May 2021, in the Community of Sr. Antonietta Böhm of Lima Surco, in the Province of St. Rose of Lima (PER), the Lord of Life introduced Sr. Matilde Nevares Vidal, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, General Councilor for 18 years to the eternal Easter.
Born in Lima (Peru) on January 16, 1938, at the age of 4 she entered the School of Mary Help of Christians, where she attended the High School by the desire of her mother who highly esteemed the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Passionate about teaching, Matilde obtained the title of teacher and for a period she taught in a public school. It was then that she heard the call of the Lord. She entered the Institute in 1959 and took her first religious vows on August 5, 1963.
The religious life of Sister Matilde is marked by unexpected calls, to which she always answered “yes”, out of love for Jesus and a strong sense of belonging to the FMA Institute made concrete in unconditional service in the various responsibilities entrusted to her. At the XVIII General Chapter (1984) she was elected Visiting Councilor and in the following Chapter, in 1990, General Councilor for Formation, a service she carried out for two six-year terms, working intensely in the initial and ongoing formation of the FMA, arriving at the drafting of the Document: “Rooted in the Covenant. FMA Plan of Formation“, with the contribution and involvement of all the FMA.
Sr. Matilde, a mature and very human woman, capable of paying attention to people, lived her life as a consecrated woman with concreteness, simplicity, and humility. She was deeply rooted in the Salesian charism that she loved and that she knew how to transmit in the accompaniment of so many sisters. She was a woman of deep and continuous prayer, in love with Jesus and Mary. She had great relationship skills, and she knew how to make complicated things simple. She was lively and with a great sense of humor. Her simplicity and humility combined very well with the delicate style she had in addressing others, winning hearts with her kindness and with gestures of humanity and fraternity.
Sr. Pina Del Core, FMA who for twelve years had the joy of collaborating with her in the area of formation, testifies: “It was a time of grace, of a true school of simple, humble, and profound Salesian holiness! I had a truly rich and fruitful human and spiritual experience. I was able to encounter in her concreteness and vision, realism and great ideal horizons, intelligence and wisdom, generosity and prudence, truth and charity, admirably conjugated in everyday life, in interpersonal relationships as in the service of animation and government, in the search for solutions as in humble and respectful attention to people. Her departure for heaven after a journey of suffering and purification took place on the eve of Pentecost, happy coincidence! She who, even without words, had a special ‘feeling’ with the Holy Spirit, always listening to the breath of life and hope present in every reality and person she met on her way, eager to scan the horizon, to open herself to the breath of joy, and able to remain strong in the storms of life. May the Holy Spirit be now for her the true Consoler, the privileged way for communion with Jesus towards the complete fulfillment of her existence entirely given! “
She was a mother and with her typical capacity for discernment, she knew how to accompany sisters, lay people, girls, and young people. With her cordial words, she knew how to reach the heart, to be firm and demanding when it was necessary, even if, at times, this caused her suffering.
A woman rich in faith, every morning she got up early to meet the Lord in prayer and meditation on the Via Crucis, which was the basis of her fidelity as she confided to the Temporary Professed. She also said that her Rosary was her travel companion. For everyone, Sr. Matilde was a humble, spontaneous woman with common sense, down to earth, without formalities, who could be called day and night and was always available. A Temporary Professed Sister testifies, “she had a unique insight into a vocation. I felt deeply understood and I could trust her in everything”.
Many Daughters of Mary Help of Christians throughout the world express gratitude to the Lord for the good received from Sr. Matilde during the initial and ongoing vocational journey. The spiritual depth and human sensitivity that characterized her were testimony to the beauty of the Salesian vocation lived in a spirit of simplicity, responsibility, and great interior freedom.
Sr. Matilde was always accompanied by the presence of Mary Help of Christians. A Salesian Bishop wrote of her: “Sister Matilde was a true image of Our Lady for the young sisters. I’m glad to have met her.”
Mother Yvonne Reungoat in her Message for the funeral of Sr. Matilde Nevares expresses gratitude for her life which was a praise to the Lord and a shining sign in the FMA Institute:
“Sr. Matilde already enjoys the fullness of life in God and rests next to Mary Help of Christians. I am sure that from Heaven she will continue to be present among us with prayers for your Province and for the whole Institute. Let us ask her with confidence to invoke the Lord for protection on GC XXIV and to obtain numerous, holy, and faithful vocations like hers. Dear Sister Matilde, now I turn to you to say a big thank you for what you have been for all of us, for the joy and wisdom with which you fulfilled the beautiful gift that God had given you to be a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, happy to belong to a family that belongs entirely to Mary and whom you knew how to love with the heart of a daughter! Thank you Sister Matilde, also on behalf of the sisters who knew you and who will not forget you!”.