The Rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa, José Maria Cantal Rivas, asked us to join in the Basilica’s 150-year jubilee in 2022.
“We would like to show the impact and influence of the basilica throughout the world and to update the links between it and different places.We “White Sisters”, the MSOLA have contributed the letter which we share with you below:
We are happy to join in the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa!
Although we are known as “White Sisters”, the founder, Cardinal Lavigerie gave us the name which expresses both dedication and devotion to Our Lady of Africa: Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa.
When the founder no longer believed in the possibility of life for the young congregation, Mother Marie-Salomé and her sisters went to pray at Notre-Dame so that the congregation might live!
Since then, we believe that the development of our “little congregation” was due to the intercession of Our Lady. As Mother Marie-Salomé liked to say. This is why the great “ex voto” with the long list of foundations expresses all our gratitude.
To this day, we are convinced that we are here, thanks to this prayer and thanks to the loving response of the Virgin in favor of the sisters.
All our White Sister communities have a picture of Our Lady of Africa and it is to her that we turn when we want to honor her by singing the “Sancta Maria.”
In 2020, at the Generalate in Rome, we had the joy of blessing a small chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of Africa” with her picture displayed. It is especially the groups of our younger sisters preparing for perpetual vows, who pray in this small chapel.
Under the protection of Our Lady of Africa, our sisters are still working in several of the places mentioned on the “ex-voto” or in those that were founded later. Moreover, the congregations that we have formed have taken over from us, in Algeria as elsewhere. They too have names relating to Our Lady, and since 2016, these 21 congregations form an association under the name of “Family of Our Lady of Africa.”
Under her protection, like our first sisters, three of our sisters and three Missionaries of Africa left in 2021 for the unknown, to northern Uganda. They began a new insertion with refugees from Sudan, entrusting themselves to Our Lady.
Mother Marie-Salomé who spent so many years in Algeria, in the shadow of the basilica, found her final resting place in the basilica itself, she who loved Mary so much and wanted to imitate her by doing what God wanted.
We rejoice that so many Muslim women visit “Lala Miriam” and tell her about their worries, their joys and their sorrows. Many Algerians cannot imagine their city without this basilica.
Happy Feast Day!
Sr. Gisela Schreyer, archivist
You can also visit the site: https://notre-dame-afrique.org/une-basilique-vivante/evenements150/