The White Fathers in Senegal

After the death last February of Fr. Joseph-Roger de Benoist, Fr. François Richard discovered this unpublished article among his many writings. In the run up to celebrating the 150th anniversary of our Society, we remember some personalities who have left their mark on their contemporaries. In this article, we learn about the many confreres that have written a page of history of the Church in Senegal and whose stories many of us know nothing about.

The first White Fathers to arrive in Senegal were Frs. Paul Eveillard, Victor Dupuis and Victor Ficheux who were the companions of Fr. Augustin Hacquard and they had come to found the missions of Segou and Timbuktu in French Soudan. They landed at Dakar on the 5th January 1895 and took the train to Saint-Louis du Senegal where Fr. Hacquard gave a lecture at the Alliance Française. On the 16th January 1895, the caravan boarded the Brière de l’Isle, a small steamship of 50 tons, which at this time of low water could only go as far as Podor. They arrived the following day. The missionaries then boarded barges that brought them to Kayes, arriving on the 12th February. From there, the Fathers continued their journey by train, canoe, on horseback and on foot until they arrived at Segou on the 1st April 1895. Over the following years, many White Fathers’ caravans transited through Senegal where the Spiritan Fathers always made them welcome.


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