Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire
 Brazil, South America



"Although we are old ones, our voice is very important for the world at this moment. The misunderstanding in this world is that some men think they are very big. We are small ones with this love, which is the only big thing we have. We can give good words for the world. I have a very big faith that we are able to change something that we are going to be able to give hope for our next generation. "   
 Maria Alice Campos Freire


       Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire was born in Brazil. She was named after her paternal grandmother whom many considered crazy because she had memory problems and seemed to live in another world.  Grandmother Maria Alice related to her Grandmother because she, herself, felt a stronger greater connection with the Stars and Star Beings than life on Earth. "I couldn't fit into the structures and felt very far away from the reality here," she said.

       Maria Alice's other grandmother died when her own mother was still a young girl.  "I heard a lot about her," Grandmother Maria Alice says. "She died because she was taking care of so many people during a measles epidemic that she had no time to take care of her self." Maria Alice's mother and 4 siblings then went to live with her own grandmother who was a very poor but spiritual person.  "All of my grandmothers lived on another level and this is what I am, also," said Grandmother Maria Alice.  "I live more on those level, too. I live much more with the grandmothers on the other side ... [They] are my spiritual group and a very strong influence in my life."

       As she grew up, Brazil saw much war and persecution. At age 17 when pregnant with her daughter, Maria Alice was put in prison and tortured. Her daughter was born after Maria Alice became a political refuge in Europe.  Soon she was advised to move to Africa because her daughter cried all the time. When they arrived, her daughter stopped crying. It was also in Africa where Maria Alice found her spirituality, received instructions for her future, and first experiences connecting to past lives.

        Grandmother Maria Alice returned to Brazil after receiving amnesty. New doors opened for her. She was initiated into Umbanda, a Brazilian religion based on African, Brazilian, Indigenous, and Christian traditions. In one ritual, she received a vision from a messenger signed with the name "Mestre (Master) Irineu." Master Inrineau was the spiritual guardian of Santo Daime, a sacramental tea used only during ceremonies in the Santo Daime religion. When Maria Alice drank Santo Daime for the first time, her vision told her to move to the Amazon. She also realized that her past suffering had helped open her spirituality.

       In the Amazon, Grandmother Maria Alice met Padrino Sebastiao who had called to her in spirit.  Sebastiao, a disciple of Master Irineau, led a spiritual community in the deepest parts of an Amazon Rainforest reservation.  The community used sacred rainforest plants as traditional medicine. 

       People across the world visited Sebastiao to drink Santo Daime and learn about their past lives and present tasks. "Humans have so much to clean out psychologically to match the peace and beauty of the forest," says Grandmother Maria Alice.  "Our community is dedicated to bringing ... happiness to people, to show that such joy is possible. We are happy, because we are devoted."

Also part of the Santo Daime community is Grandmother Clara Sinobu Iura.
At the moment of Sebastiao's passing in the early 1990's, he held both Grandmother Maria Alice's and Grandmother Clara's hands. Humbled, it was a profoundly sacred moment for both women. The Grandmothers have since traveled the world to help other communities and churches in their healing work.  "Fate has kept Clara and I together" Grandmother Maria Alice believes. "Whenever it seems we are moving in different directions, something comes up and we are drawn together."

       Today Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire is one of the elders and a master of the
Umbanda ceremonies in the Santo Daime Church in Ceu do Mapia.   She is also a healer, founder of the Centro Medicina da Floresta. and actively works to preserve the rainforest. She is also dedicated to children and the young people and hopes they'll continue her work and keep the traditional knowledge for all time.


       Addressing the Grandmother's Council for the first time, Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire spoke of about the special moment. "I believe we have all been guided to be here," she said.  "and we will be guided to do what we came here to do. We cannot say we are of this race or that one. We have all been everything in our many lives, and now our paths cross for us to connect from many different faiths and cultures. But we are all the same flame in life.

       "I am thankful for this Holy Mother, our planet the Earth, who received all of us, for the destiny we have here to be this channel for eternal live in receiving the knowledge from our ancestors to give to future generations.

       "We have all arrived at the point where we are very sure about what is good for us, what is good for humanity. ... We have this force and certainty about what is good for all of us humans. We know we don't need violence, money, struggle, or competition. We just need to surrender and consecrate God's Creation. We need to be happy, love one another, and receive what God has to give us

Text adapted from "Grandmothers Council the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision For Our Planet"
by Carol Schaefer
Trumpeter Books, 2006


Native Village Resources
Maria Alice and Clara News NV Articles RAINSTICKS


  Internet Resources 
A video of the forest medicine center founded by Grandmother Maria Alice.
Portuguese version -

Grandmother Maria Alice Freire

Video from Grandmother Maria Alice


Cool music video from one of Grandmother Grandmother Maria Alice's projects
Comments by Maria Alice

Among the page resources:
Jenness Cortez Perlmutter
Cynthia Cox
Marisol Villenueva

Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire  Native Village Home Page