It was 1988 when the AMU supported in Brazil the program of multi-faceted development, called Magnificat. It was the first ongoing project destined to become a milestone in the history of this NGO. Ten years before, the Focolare Movement had in fact received a donation of an agricultural area in the state of Maranhao inhabited by families of posseiros, that is, farmers without land, and purchased additional acreage.
Some people of the Movement have shared for years the life of those farmers, managing to establish a vital relationship with them, and cultivating in them their own desire and commitment to improve their lives. In that year they created a new community, part of a project of integral development (education, health, economic growth) for the inhabitants of Magnificat, which manages to involve nearby villages for a total of 5,000 people. The project was financed by MAE for five years and coordinated by AMU. The start of diversified cultivation of crops, of livestock, of beekeeping, cottage industries, the building of a school and a health clinic, are some of the results realized by the project in the first four years.
At the same time, the cultural and professional education of the people favored the participation of the farmers in the acquisition and control of the means of production, in the commercialization of the products, and in the social and political life, setting the base for a progressive self-sufficiency of the community.