Madeleine Jacqueminet spent more than half a century of her African missionary life in Burkina Faso. A teacher by training, she has done secretarial work and accounting. The years have passed and today she is at the St Charles retirement home in Verrières-le-Buisson, where she has kept her good mood, her dynamism and her joie de vivre…
For me, the “All to all” of our founder Charles Lavigerie, began the day I responded to a request from Cardinal Zoungrana (from Ouagadougou), who asked for someone to start a commercial school. There was a lack of secretaries in Burkina.
But what to do? I started from NOTHING, I had to find a group of students, equipment, a room, organize everything! My first job was to prepare an entrance exam to select the most suitable girls to start this training.
Then I went to see the headmaster of the technical school to ask him what program he was following, then to the French ambassador, to ask for his help. He replied: “I am interested, make plans, we will help you. And so, that’s how I started.
The first year, I welcomed students coming out of 6th and 5th grades. I took twelve, because I taught absolutely all the courses. I had 33 hours of lessons per week. It was the director of the other section who taught me English. Very quickly, the level rose, and we were able to start with the CAP typist and the CAP office worker. Then came the BEP, and later still, we arrived at the baccalaureate: BAC G1, BAC secretariat.
I had the satisfaction of seeing that we always had good results, so that even business leaders came to me: “Sister, I need a secretary”. This is how, for 18 years, the school functioned as well as one could wish. I then thought that for me, the time had come to retire, and it was one of my former students who replaced me. She had passed the BAC, then had gone to the technical school to prepare the BTS. In addition, I had asked for a scholarship to help her go to France, where she could get a teaching job. When she returned, we worked together for a year, because Cardinal Zoungrana had said to me: “You are not going to let a young girl be in charge alone”. So, I accompanied her for a school year, after which she was ready to take up the torch. Today, I give thanks to the Lord for having helped me to create this school, and for all the young people who continue to train to acquire a profession and live with dignity. Madeleine Jacqueminet