Maria José A. de Abreu
“A monastery of the Poor Claires in Canção Nova?” I asked, doubting my ears. The initial procession had just entered the alley by the left rear part of the building. The priest leading the procession walked down the aisle, raising the holy monstrance. “That’s right!” said the woman I had befriended, adding, “They came here because of a moment like now, a Thursday, just like today, when Canção Nova was offering contemplation to the Holy Eucharist.” This information brought in me a mix of perplexity and excitement. Could it be that Canção Nova, a multimedia campus located in São Paulo, Brazil, that belonged to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement, shared its physical space with a Franciscan female monastery?
The Canção Nova media campus traces its origin back to February 1978, when its founder, Padre Jonas Abib, whom many considered a prophet, was speaking to an audience of young Catholics. The event took place in the vast green region of the Paraiba Valley, in the state of São Paulo, a place well known for its many mystical happenings and nowadays a privileged site for eco-religious tourism. The story goes that on a February