Discovering the Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte e Gloria: Understanding the Social and Personal Value that a Sisterhood Provides for its Members


Ana Maria Garay

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Founded in the early 19th century in Salvador- Bahia, Brazil, the Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte e Gloria is today a living legacy of perseverance. The Sisterhood constitutes of 20 elderly Afro-Brazilian women who every year commemorate the Virgin Mary for her assistance in their liberation from slavery. From June 27-August 26 I lived in Cachoeira where the sisters reside; here I interviewed and observed their daily lives. The question that I was most eager to answer was: What does the Sisterhood provide for its members? I found that one of the most important elements that the sisters were met with was a sense of belonging to this society while simultaneously being able to preserve their ancestral legacy. Through inquiry I realized that what is most important to the sisters is the continuous cultivation of solidarity amongst its members that provides remembrance of their ancestors struggle to gain liberation. Also, through their practice of both Catholic and Candomble ritual, the Sisterhood is a living reminder of the religious syncretism developed by African slaves. My goal during the making of this project was to know why the sisters would want to be a part of this society. Now, my goal is to transmit the knowledge that I acquired about the sisters themselves. It is important that we register the lives and sayings of these incredible women. Currently I am working on my senior comprehensive requirement which will deal with some aspect extracted from my Richter project.


Felisa Guillen




The Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trust

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