Word of new Superior

150 years listening to the peoples of the African World

We could write, everywhere in our country, this employment notice: «We are looking for adult persons of all ages for a service that has become quite rare in today’s world. We urgently need persons with “large ears”, who will accept to give some time to listen to others freely and with love.» It is an ideal work for pensioners having grand-children, or who live far away from a Centre forthe elderly, or at the heart of the city where we often find people living alone or marginalised, and who want to make this world more human.

just came back from Africa after many years of service, being in charge of training houses for our future candidates to missionary life. I have spent many hours listening to these young men coming from different countries and continents. I was struck by the great need, alas less fulfilled, to be personally heard with an attentive and caring ear.

During the Lenten season, we prepare ourselves for the victory of Life over death. This is the positive awareness of God our Father on the quality of the life of his Son, Jesus, who himself knew how to listen to the cries and the complaints of his people.

Let us imitate him by allowing some space in our timetable, by offering a time to listen to those who are dear to us, as to those who are lonely.

Indeed, many Africans whom I have met in all the countries where I have worked, do remember many religious persons, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, not so much for their skills in building or teaching, but rather for the quality of their presence among them. “They loved us, they spent time with us, we felt like being heard by them”. Yes, so much time spent listening, consoling, encouraging, being put back on one’s feet… 150 years of listening.

This work was done not without risk for the lives of our confreres. From our foundation up to now, more than fifty companions were murdered and many of them because of their faith. They are true martyrs. On the 8th of December 2018, four Missionaries of Africa with 15 others, all killed in Algeria because of their faith, were beatified in that country. You will find an interesting article about that on page 13. It is worth reading about South Africa which has also been blessed by the beatification of Benedict Daswa, the first recognised local martyr in the country of Nelson Mandela.

Finally, the testimony of Fr. Michel Meunier will remind you of the beauty of a dedicated life to the proclamation of the Good News. Enjoy your reading and may the Lord bless you with peace, hope and joy in your heart.

Fr. Real Doucet M.Afr.
Provincial of the Americas