“Favela pela janela” by Simone Santos

Brazil: Flipping through pages of flesh

"Passos" is the Brazilian version of "Traces". Giovanna subscribes to the magazine and wrote to their editorial staff to thank them, and to describe a companionship “that entered my room without warning” even during the lockdown.

There is nothing new to say about these "unprecedented" times from all points of view. There much talk of a kind of diagnosis: "Zoom exhaustion", that hyperconnection to which we have been led by Covid. Something that I feel describes me very well. I am a teacher and I have almost 150 students that write to me on Whatsapp every week, my time in front of mobile and computer screens has doubled. And I am talking about myself, I know that for others it is even worse…

I say this because I wanted to thank you for the fact that you keep sending out the "carnal" magazine. I use this expression in order to parallel what Julián Carrón draws our attention to: our need for flesh. I did not think the day would come when I would realize this, but having the magazine before my eyes, being able to touch it with my hands…it is a form of that flesh.

I admit that I still have not had the chance to read the latest book by Entrepassos (a book club of university students that sends a book to the magazine subscribers every month) because I have read so much during this time, my heart is attracted to everything at the same time! But I just want to say that having read what you wrote about the writer Conceição Evaristo, having seen her picture... and then the painting of the "Favela pela janela", which an artist friend made for each subscriber of Entrepassos, with a window of the favela and the name of each one (see picture)... It is that flesh. At this moment, where we must sacrifice meeting up together, Conceição entered my room without warning... Just like yesterday, when I was reading the magazine, I found myself face to face again with Clarice Lispector, "the woman seeking Infinity". I too am that woman. It reminded me of who I am and the greatness of my heart's desire. I swear, I have never closed that page of the newspaper again. I did not have the courage. Then Sister Laura Girotto, a missionary in Ethiopia, came to "visit" me. I read: "Blessed are you who only have the Coronavirus." It was a shock. Too much flesh. I do not want to have a bourgeois life, nor do I want my experience of faith not to have anything to do with Ethiopia…Thank you for helping me to ask this question again!

This is what I am living, and it is touching me very much. I have barely managed to "keep up" with everything on the internet, I was “exhausted”. But what I want is to be able to rediscover the experience of flesh, to be accompanied in solitude, to rediscover the value of our homes, as Lizi and Debora describe in another article. I would like the magazine to reach many, many... to be a sign of this flesh. For it to come into our homes in flesh and blood.

Read also – Adrianus Simonis: Lifelong loyalty

It would not be possible to live this without this work. Although in this racing world, as Rilke would say, "everything conspires to silence us", to silence this ineffable hope, our companionship is an ineffable Hope!

Giovanna, Belo Horizonte, Brazil