The Community SERVANTS OF MARY OF THE HEART OF JESUS was founded by the couple Ana Rita Otaviano Tavares de Melo and José Tavares de Melo, called by all Mãezinha and Paizinho. Both come from catholic families of firm moral and religious principles.
Their story, a remote preparation of the work of the Community SERVANTS OF MARY OF THE HEART OF JESUS, began since they met in 1954 when Joseph was nine years old and Rita six.
In 1967 they married and had a daughter and three sons. They devoted themselves diligently and successfully to their entrepreneurial activity, without thereby neglecting the education of their children and without closing themselves to the needs of the poorest.
On January 7th, 1972 died Paulinho, Mãezinha’s brother, leaving a deep wound in her heart.
The kidnapping and subsequent release of Neda, mother of Mãezinha, occurring in February 1989, was the immediate preparation for the call of God, and led our Founders to completely detach themselves from material goods.
On February 4th, 1995 Mãezinha, returning into her room, where she was staying on the occasion of a spiritual event at a Jesuit convent, heard distinctly and externally a very gentle female voice saying softly the following words: "Daughter, you will have a great mission of caring for the sick." She immediately recognized that it was the Mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary. This was God's call to let go all her projects and economic activities and to go over her fears and her own will and marked the beginning of a deep life of prayer.
Having received confirmation of the call through a signal happened the day after, spiritually followed by her first director Fr. Joseph Abner de Andrade and Bishop Marcelo Pinto Carvalheira, then Archibishop of Paraiba, she began to daily visit the sick in hospitals, later the "spiritual" sick in the Roger prison in João Pessoa and finally taking seriously the missionary teachings of Jesus to the twelve Apostles, contained in Matthew chapter 10, she visited, along with Paizinho, the cities in the state of Paraiba, forming with the local people Rosary prayer groups and mission.
The more our founders dedicated themselves to the work of evangelization, the more they felt pressured by the love of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 5:14), who once “Saw the multitudes and was overwhelmed with compassion because they were weak and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd and said "I have compassion on the crowd!" (Cf. Mt 15,32b; 9.36).
They noted with deep pain the cause of many evils in families, and how far had gone cooling of faith, sacrilege against the Holy Eucharist, especially unworthily obtained communions, abandonment of the Church with entry into sects, superstition, unbridled immorality, infidelity to the commitments, inconstancy in good, great fragility in the face of the world aggression proposals. To this has to be added the lack of faith and proclamation of the Word of God and the doctrine: " man does not live by bread alone, but by everything that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Dt 8,3b).
Since the beginning of their missionary activity, the founders were always welcomed and warmly supported by Father Alencar Severino Leite, the parochial vicar of the city of Condado of the state of Paraiba, who would later become co-founder of the Community.
On September 21st, 1997, day of the Apostle Matthew, our founders were in a Marian shrine and met the future co-founders of the community: Fr Lorenzo D'Andrea and Sr. Bettina Knapp. It was then that, during a time of prayer, Maezinha heard the request of the Lord to found a missionary and contemplative community.
In October 1999 began the first experience of community life of some missionaries. They immediately began to organize meetings of evangelization and one-week retreats at the Paradise Farm, where Ana Rita and José, for their dedication, began to be called by many lovingly "Maezinha and Paizinho".
On March 21st, 2000 the Community was officially and canonically approved by Archbishop Marcelo Pinto Carvalheira. On October 13th, 2001 started the Contemplative female branch. In January 2003 they consecrated the first missionary brothers and sisters. On February 11th, 2009 was inaugurated the Contemplative male branch.