Drug addicts are the outcasts, the wounded victims on the margins. Helping them was always one of Father Werenfried’s major concerns.

In Brazil, Father Hans Stapel founded a great movement to help them, the Fazendas, or Farms of Hope. Today they are present in more than ten countries. In the diocese of Pinheiro, Father Joao Luis Mancini has set up a similar initiative and established a ‘Fazenda of Merciful Love’.

Here 60 young men are trying to overcome their addiction through work – farming fish – and through prayer – particularly the Rosary. God’s grace is at work in them. Even the locals, who initially did not want to see the farm set up in their area, are supporting the project, now that they have seen its good results.

Father Joao is like the Good Shepherd, caring day and night for his ‘lost sheep’. He gets the addicts’ families involved, to facilitate their return back home, and also runs another Fazenda of Merciful Love in the neighbouring diocese of Viana.

A similar place for women is also planned, because more and more women – including mothers – are falling into addiction. But they want to come back to life. Now Father Joao’s old car has become unreliable, and he needs a new one for all his many tasks and journeys. We have promised him our support.

This article can be found in Mirror 0415.