Juliana Almeida

By Juliana Almeida
Laudato Si’ Animator, Brazil

The desire to care for our common home has always existed in my life, but too often I didn’t take action. I knew how important it was, and I participated in some specific activities, but I wasn’t doing enough.

My ecological conversion started at the end of 2019 when I began to inform myself about Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. My experiences encouraged me to see how caring for our common home is fundamental to a more just and equal society. Before that, I had not realized how everything is interconnected.

In January 2020 I had the opportunity to participate in the Franciscan Youth Mission in Xaxim, where the focus of the event was Laudato Si’.

The point of great change for me was to meet so many people motivated by Pope Francis to transform our common home. I was unaware of the worldwide depth of this movement, and I felt welcomed and motivated to participate.

My brother and I went through an ecological conversion together and decided to adopt new lifestyles.

We began to study and gradually changed our actions. Soon our parents felt urged to undergo their own conversion.

In our house, what used to be an idea became a daily practice, such as reducing plastic, composting, buying from small producers, and so on.

Then we talked with some people from our community who also had studied Laudato Si’ in order to organize bigger actions.

Despite the support and bonds that we had formed, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we didn’t know how to act.

At that time, we enrolled in the Laudato Si’ Animators course. The training was incredible and helped me deepen my study of the encyclical.

The course also provided the opportunity to meet incredible people, companions in the search for a better world.

My brother and I united our desire to transform the local reality together with three other friends, who were also Laudato Si’ Animators.

Together we decided to create the REAJA (Environmental Revolution of Active Youth) Movement, with the purpose of spreading Laudato Si’ and ideas for taking care of our common home to all people, especially young people.

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The REAJA opened doors for dialogue. During the pandemic, we carried out online activities to engage more people.

A few months later, the Franciscan Tent, organized by SEFRAS (Franciscan Solidarity Service) set up a base in Rio de Janeiro to care for the street population.

REAJA was able to establish a partnership with them. We organized together, hosted online conversations, and raised awareness among volunteers.

Laudato Si’ and the ecological conversion I underwent have changed my life and the way I see all things and creatures. I am very grateful for all the people who, together with me, fight for a more fraternal world.

Juliana Almeida is an architect and urban planner, Laudato Si’ Animator, and co-founder of REAJA (Environmental Revolution of Active Youth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The above reflection and reflection questions were adapted from the January Laudato Si’ Resource. The spiritual resource is produced monthly for Laudato Si’ Animators, Laudato Si’ Circles, and everyday Catholics to use and help them grow closer to our Creator.

You can find the entire resource, as well as past editions, here. Have an idea for a future resource or blog post? Email us.