Lavigerie Day

Lavigerie Day


It is 135 years since Cardinal Lavigerie died, leaving behind two young Missionary Institutes (the White Fathers and the White Sisters) that he founded in 1868 and 1869 respectively. Today, these missionaries work in more than 40 countries around the world.

Cardinal Lavigerie had an extraordinary passion for Africa. As soon as he arrived in Algeria, he envisaged the evangelization of the entire continent. The secret memoirs submitted to the Holy See a few years later reveal a man determined to transform the African continent, not only by faith but also through social development. He urged his missionaries to be apostles, making themselves “all things to all people”, like St Paul, and to win hearts in ” a gentle and charitable way”. They were to avoid any form of religious constraint. Lavigerie wanted the missionaries to respect and understand the local culture wherever they went. His cultural and religious sensitivity is an opening to inter-religious dialogue.

For Lavigerie, mission also means liberation and justice for the oppressed. That was why he embarked on the anti-slavery campaign. He was a man capable of expressing his deepest convictions about human values. The missionaries would continue this struggle by promoting the integral development of people and social cohesion.

Of course, there are many writings about Cardinal Lavigerie today. It is not the intention of the organisers of this day of exchange to exhibit  what has been written, but rather to remember this man who left a rich legacy, not only to his missionaries but also to Africa and beyond its borders. What did we inherit from Cardinal Lavigerie? What new look should we have on this legacy and how can we sustain it? Our discussions will focus on the following areas:

      1. Why is Lavigerie important today?
      2. Lavigerie’s inspiration for the anti-slavery struggle. What message for today?
      3. Lavigerie and the promotion of women
      4. Cardinal Lavigerie as seen by a Tunisian historian
      5. How can Lavigerie’s spirituality inspire us today?
      6. How can Lavigerie’s figure inspire young people today: the example of Lavigerie’s Secondary School in Ouagadougou
      7. The laity in Nairobi: how to live the charism of Lavigerie today

We hope that evoking the memory of Cardinal Lavigerie will contribute to «picking up the inspiring spark”, the ideals and the values that moved him so that we can continue in his footsteps with fresh energy. 


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