The celebration of the beatification of Bishop Pierre Claverie and his 18 companions and martyrs on Algerian soil took place on Saturday 8th December 2018 at the Shrine of Notre Dame de Santa Cruz in Oran, Algeria.
Among the beatified, we find Fathers Charles Deckers, Jean Chevillard, Alain Dieulangard et Christian Chessel – our four brothers, Missionaries of Africa, who were assassinated in Tizi Ouzou in 1994, and the monks of Thiberine, who were kidnapped and assassinated in 1996.
“They all died because they had chosen, by grace, to remain faithful to those with whom they lived and shared services, and had become neighbors. Their deaths revealed that their life was at the service of all: the poor, women in difficulty, disabled, young, all of them Muslims. (…)These beatifications say that hatred is not the right answer to hate, that there is no inevitable spiral of violence. They want to be a step towards forgiveness and peace for all humans, from Algeria but also beyond the borders of Algeria. (From the communiqué of the bishops of Algeria)
Beatification of the Algeria Martyrs, Testimony of Fr. Raphaël Deillon, Missionary of Africa
A first visit to the monastery of Tibhirine for Sister Angele, Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa:
During the session for newcomers to Algeria, I had the chance to take part in the trip to the ancient Tibhirine Monastery – the place I saw in the movie “Of Men and Gods”, the place where the Trappist monks gave their lives …. I walked there; I visited the monks’ graves, I heard explanations from our guide and my faith grew and was renewed. These monks were a real imitation of Christ. They left this earth because of their commitment to witness the Gospel to the end. I was touched by the words a local woman had addressed to one of the fathers when he wondered whether to leave or stay: “You are among us like trees and we, like birds. Without trees the bird gets tired and finally, falls to the ground because he has no place to put his feet or his nest. He stays in the air, deprived of everything.” I understood better how these monks were supporting the people and how the people supported them.
During the newcomers’ session, different people were invited to share their experiences. They told us about the history of this country, Algeria. What gave me much joy was the enthusiasm of our predecessors, sharing with simplicity the joys and sorrows of the Algerian people.
Sr. Angèle Riziki, Congolese on mission in Ghardaïa, Algeria