Committed to the life of the local Church and in love with Jerusalem

Interview with Lieutenant Isis Penido about the life of the Lieutenancy for Brazil - Rio de Janeiro

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Isis Penido

The Lieutenancy for Brazil - Rio de Janeiro is very active on various fronts. Do you want to tell us about the main features in the life of this structure of the Order?

Thank God we're very active. What motivates us first is our faith in Jesus Christ, the respect and admiration for the work of the Order throughout the world, and the certainty that we are caring for and doing good to others.

We work with auxiliary advisory structures called "Commissions", which help the Lieutenant and the Council in managing the activities of the Order in the Lieutenancy of Brazil - Rio de Janeiro. We have the Spiritual Affairs Commission; the Approval and Formation of Candidates Commission; the Social Communications Commission; the Community Social Actions Commission; the Socio-Cultural Activities Commission; the Financial Commission and the International Relations Commission.

Our main points of action are participation in the liturgical ceremonies of the Church; the carrying out of charitable activities; formation activities and participation in events to raise funds for the Order.


The Order offers men and women, Knights and Dames, equal participation. As a Dame who occupies a position of responsibility like that of Lieutenant, what is your experience of this dimension of collaboration and mutual service within the Church?

I have always been at the service of our Catholic Church. Since I was a child, I participated with my mother, who was already very active in the Church. I have had several positions of responsibility, but I did not think I would ever be a Lieutenant.

As Lieutenant, I also have lay members who are very present, active, who respect me a lot and the work I have been doing in these months since I was appointed by the Grand Magisterium. I also have the support of the ecclesiastics, the Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy (Cardinal Orani João Tempesta), the Coadjutor Prior and the ecclesiastical Master of Ceremonies.


How do you prepare candidates and what is your presence in the local Church?

As for the formation of candidates to be future members of the Order, I try to be as serious and demanding as possible, following the Order’s Statute, which is our Constitution and must be observed.

We have a Spiritual Affairs Commission, led by two excellent priests, Knight Monsignor André Sampaio and Knight Monsignor Sérgio Costa Couto. This commission is responsible, together with the Lieutenant, for the formation and spiritual deepening of the members of the Order, including those who are preparing to join us.

We are always seeking to participate in the liturgical life of the Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, where we are based, as well as participating in the social and charitable activities of the Archdiocese. Recently, we have begun visiting the dioceses of the countryside where we have knights and ladies who do not live in Rio de Janeiro, but are linked territorially to our Lieutenancy.   


You recently went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. What message do you want to convey to the other Lieutenancies of the Order from this place that unites us spiritually?

I tell all the Lieutenants of the world to arrange a pilgrimage with their Lieutenancies to the Holy Land. The members of the Lieutenancy who make the pilgrimage will never be the same, nor will the experience of being a Knight or Lady be the same after this pilgrimage, when they will be deeply touched. On our return, we also visited Rome, the Eternal City, where we met with the Cardinal Grand Master, which was a great honor for us.

The Holy Land is called the "Land of the Fifth Gospel" and I think that we can truly feel ourselves as members of the Order after we have walked the historical paths of Jesus and experienced his words in the same places the Word became flesh.

(Winter 2018)