visa for the martyr

Our founder, Monsignor Charles Lavigerie, became Archbishop of Algiers in 1867. This Church was composed of settlers from France, Italy, Spain, a small minority in the among a large Muslim population. When he arrived in Algiers, he discovers that, for the past two years, cholera has been making thousands of victims, low rainfall caused the decrease in the number of victims. harvests and a significant loss of livestock: all this resulted in the death of many people.

Lavigerie uses newspapers to raise an alarm in Europe, while asking the parishes in Algeria to do their part to welcome orphans and other victims of these calamities. In fact, religious congregations have tried to meet this challenge, but the local Church in Algeria was unable to engage in a variety of apostolates humanitarian workers in the name of the Gospel.

For Lavigerie, Algeria was "an open door" to the entire African continent undermined by the scourge of slavery. It is in these contexts that Lavigerie decided to found a new congregation of men (the White Fathers) and women (the White Sisters). It is addressed to to the young people of Europe and its vocational call is the "Visa for the martyr". Young people from France first, then other Western European countries, answered his call.

The 150 years of existence of our Congregations are marked by the violent deaths of several missionaries. A first group of three White Fathers was sent on a mission in 1876: they were killed by their guides in the Sahara desert. The same was true for another group of three Fathers sent by another road in 1881. Two other Fathers and a Brother were murdered in Tanzania and Burundi in 1880 and 1881. The "murdered" are telling the story of the life of the White Fathers: Rwanda, Algeria, Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya. On December 8, 2018, the martyrs of Algeria were beatified, including four White Fathers killed in Tizi-Ouzou in 1994. The White Sisters also had their martyrs. The call Lavigerie's vocation remains the same today: "Visa for the martyr".

The African world, whether in Africa or elsewhere, still remains our particular charism in the Church. In 150 years, out of a total of 6333 Fathers and Brothers, more than 700 were Canadians engaged in this mission. Living conditions have changed significantly since the foundation, the faith of the missionaries remained strong. Their passionate commitment to meeting the people, for interfaith dialogue, for justice, for the dignity of persons, for peace and The integrity of creation are the current forms of the "martyrdom" experienced in the daily life of love.

On the cover: 5 young White Fathers. From top, from left to right: Tirkey Erus Kishor and John William Nkhoma, Ismael Mendez, Jean-Pierre Maheshe, Thomasz Podrazik.

We do not only provide services in the parish. The following pages give you an overview of our other current commitments to Africa.

Gilles Barrette, M.Afr.