There are 23 flavors produced with all the affection by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Convent of Santa Clara do Desterro, downtown, is the country oldest monastery, founded in the 17th century. As if the historical importance were not enough, the Nuns made it a very typical place to visit during the month of June: one of the city’s main places for liquor production, so traditional at St John’s Party.
The habit of producing liquors came from Portugal, together with the Poor Clares Sisters, in the 1670s. They then passed the recipe to the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who now manage the place. According to Sister Aparecida dos Santos, one of the responsible for the liqueurs, the production takes place throughout the year, intensifying even more in the month of June.
The convent’s little store is called Confeitaria São José, and has 23 flavors for sale like anise, lemon, passion fruit, cacao, pitanga, mint, fennel, cinnamon, guava, carambola, guanaco, cashew and jabuticaba. They also produce biscuits and sweets made of crystallized fruits, such as jenipapo. By the way, jenipapo and rose liqueurs are among the top sellers.
“The roses liquor had already come with the Poor Clares Sisters. The first flavors were jenipapo, tangerine, orange and the flowers one (violets) that today we don’t produce anymore. Over time, the fruits here have been introduced, such as cajá, umbu and mangaba”, explains Sister Aparecida.
The convent has an annexed farmhouse, from where all the fruits come for the liqueurs production. After some tests, new flavors were introduced, such as banana and carambola. The rose used for the liquer is the pink queen Elizabeth, which also comes from this small plantation. Rose liquor, for example, takes an average of 8 months to 2 years in infusion, being filtered about seven times. About 800 to 1000 liters of liquor can be produced per year, of which 500 to 600 liters in the period before São João.
“Success is working with a lot of love and joy. It is to put love above everything else”, says Sister Aparecida.
The person behind the liquor production
Sister Maria Aparecida and five other people work hard to make the celebration of Saint John sweeter. She is from Bahia, from the interior of Itamira, on the border of Sergipe. She is a triplet, all three religious sisters of the same Order from a family of 17 siblings. Maria Aparecida, Maria Gorete and Maria de Lourdes already knew that they wanted to be religious since they were 10 years old.
“God chose us before we were even born. To be a nun, you have to have a vocation. Being a nun is a calling”, says the Sister.
The Nun arrived at the convent at the age of 20. Today she is 53. “It’s a year before my silver wedding”, she says. She spent seven years studying to be a religious, and when she returned, she soon took over the liquor production.
The Convent of Santa Clara do Desterro Church
The Church is open to visitors and Catholics every 19th of every month, at 5:00 p.m. On July 19, 2019, the Auxiliary Bishop of Salvador, Don Marco Eugênio, will celebrate the 304th anniversary of Mother Vitória’s death with a Solemn Mass.
It is important to celebrate the memory of Mother Victory because some devotees, Archdiocese and Bishop Murilo have a project to take her name to canonization. In 2016, Mother Victory won the title of Servant of God, denomination given by the Holy See.
Convent’s store – Confeitaria São José
R. Santa Clara, S/N – Nazaré, Salvador – BA, 40040-450
Opening hours: from Monday to Saturday, from 8 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. 71 2203-4015 / 71 99681-1711
The value raised by the sale, besides being reverted to the maintenance of the project, is used for a social project carried out by the convent, with classes such as cutting and sewing, guitar, confectionery, among others. Children and elderly people of both genders can participate.
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Licor das Freiras. Convento do Desterro. Nazaré, Salvador Bahia. Foto Amanda Oliveira.