From December 8, 2018 to December 8, 2019, the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) and Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters), are celebrating 150 years of history.
Women and men living in the heart of the African world for 150 years!
In Algeria, in 1868, Bishop Charles Lavigerie, then archbishop of Algiers, founded the Society of Missionaries of Africa and, the following year, the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. Their first Superior General, Mother Marie Salomé, fulfilled this service for 43 years (from 1879 to 1925); she collaborated with Bishop Lavigerie to consolidate this young congregation.
The arrival of a young Canadian saved the congregation.
Also a Nicolétaine, Miss de l’Eprévier, was an instrument from Heaven at the moment when Lavigerie had decided to dissolve this foundation. In 1885, the arrival of this brave young woman who dared to cross the ocean was the long awaited sign of divine Providence, as Mother Salome said, and the congregation could live.
Missionaries for the African world
Lavigerie was a visionary and a great organizer. A man of faith and decision, he trusted God and those hundreds of young men and women who answered his call to go from Algiers to the countries of central Africa. He had confidence in the future of Africans.
In 1866, Monseigneur Charles Lavigerie came to the aid of the victims of a famine that was raging in Algiers. Later, he wanted to fight against slavery. He gathered men and women missionaries for the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the continent of Africa. These missionaries, strongly attached to Christ, left their family, their country and their way of life to live with the African people, to learn their languages, to discover their cultures and to sympathize with their sufferings. The first missionaries came from France. John Forbes, born on Île Perrot, was the first Canadian White Father, and Adelaide Morin, from St. Norbert of Athabaska, was the first Canadian to enter and remain with the White Sisters.
At the heart of the missionary always resounds this call to give witness to Jesus Christ. The mission is not finished. It shows itself in new ways and calls for new answers.
Bishop Christian Lépine Archbishop of Montreal, will preside over a celebration of 150 years
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7 pm
followed by a sharing of African snacks
Basilica Cathedral Mary Queen of the World of Montreal,
1085 rue de la Cathedrale, Montreal, H3B 2V3
(Bonaventure metro station)
No free parking available