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Sr. Inah, the Brazilian religious who is 115 years old

religiosa 115 años

Instagram | Aciprensa

Aleteia - published on 03/31/24

At 115, Sr. Inah is probably the oldest nun in the world. There is one habit that the nun has adopted and has never abandoned: praying the Rosary every day.

“Youth is not a period of life, it is a state of mind (…) a matter of the will,” says a poem by Samuel Ullman, quoted often by General MacArthur. The poem is certainly not wrong, but it may have omitted one important ingredient: prayer. And Sr. Inah knows all about this secret of longevity. At 115 years old, this Brazilian sister is probably the oldest nun in the world. Her secret to rejuvenation? “I pray the Rosary every day for all the people around the world,” she explains to the reporter Nathália Queiroz of Aci Prensa.

Religious at 19

The Brazilian nun lives in Porto Alegre, in a retirement home next to the provincial house of the Teresian Sisters of Brazil, a community she joined when she was 19 years old, in 1927. Born in 1908, Inah was the second of seven siblings.

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When one of her brothers suggested to her mother that she send Inah to study in a convent in Rio Grande do Sul, where she was born, the girl immediately asked what a nun was. When her mother replied that it was a woman who dedicated her life to God, Inah said, “I’m going to be a nun.”

An amazing life

After entering the convent, Sr. Inah taught Portuguese, as well as mathematics, history, science, art and religion, in several Teresian schools in Rio de Janeiro. While teaching, she inspired several of her students to join her religious community.

Two world wars, ten popes, great technological advances: Sister Inah has seen many upheavals happen before her very eyes! Pope Francis sent her a message on her 110th birthday, according to the website of the diocese of Porto Alegre, where she resides. The director of the residence describes her as a woman of faith, resilient and generous.

“She is always focused on others and not on herself,” says Sr. Lúcia Ignez Bassotto, who is in charge of the retirement home. She “isn’t demanding, appreciates everything, thinks that everything fine (…). She prays for everyone, she is concerned for everyone,” she says. “Her life is truly exemplary,” she adds.

Very active despite her advanced age, Sister Inah continues to participate in community life with the nuns. ““I feel very happy, very grateful to God because it was [Sr. Inah] who guided me along this path,” says Sister Velmira, the nurse responsible for Sister Inah’s health, “and now I can be useful to her, help her in the moments when she needs me.”

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