Sister Maria Silvia 

Sister Maria Silvia                ND 5443                PDF Download

(formerly Sister Maria Cléa)

Silvia Arcely HENKES

Holy Cross Province, Passo Fundo, RS, Brazil

Date and Place of Birth:           March 14, 1937        Colorado, RS
Date and Place of Profession: February 11, 1964    Passo Fundo, RS
Date and Place of Death:         March 30, 2022       Passo Fundo, RS
Date and Place of Burial:         March 31, 2022        Sta Cruz Cemetery, Passo Fundo, RS

Silvia Arcely Henkes was the fifth of the seven children born to Martim Leopoldo Henkes and Irma Elisinda Sudbrak Henkes, three of whom are already deceased. Her parents were merchants and very concerned about the secular and Christian education of their children.

After completing primary school at the Municipal School of Colorado, Silvia worked in her father’s store, where everyone loved her for her friendliness and kindness. In 1960, she attended the Santa Inês School of Domestic Arts, coordinated by the Sisters of Notre Dame, where her interest in religious life was awakened. In simplicity – a characteristic of her own – she expressed her desire to enter the Congregation when she wrote: “I have not learned anything extraordinary to make myself useful to the Congregation, but I am ready to improve myself, as the superiors wish. I know how to do housework. I desire to enter the convent to consecrate my whole life to Jesus and also because I feel that in this vocation, I will be happy”. Silvia entered the Novitiate on February 13, 1962 and was given the religious name Sister Maria Cléa.

Sr. M. Silvia attended various courses in the areas of health care, pastoral care, and spirituality, which enabled her to fulfill the SNDs’ apostolic mission serving as a nurse, engaging in pastoral care, accounting and assisting in the administration office. As a local superior, she cared for the well-being of the sisters and encouraged them to faithfully fulfill their responsibilities. Sister was a welcoming, peaceful and joyful presence in the community.

Beginning in 2020, Sister felt her strength beginning to wane, so she dedicated herself to visiting the sick in the hospital, a service that was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sr. M. Silvia loved to be with people and this lockdown was difficult for her. However, the quote from Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me” had always been a consolation and encouragement on her life’s journey, even in the greatest difficulties.

In October 2021, Sister fell. As a result, she, was transferred to Casa Betânia to receive special care. On March 18 of this year, due to a severe lung infection as well as kidney and heart complications, Sister M. Silvia was admitted to the hospital in Passo Fundo for specific treatment, where she died on March 30th. Her co-sisters were constantly with her during this difficult journey, caring for her, praying with her and for her, being her companion and comfort.

We pray for Sister M. Silvia’s eternal rest and ask her to intercede for her family, friends, sisters, and all those who had the grace to live with her.