November 26, anniversary of the death of Cardinal Charles Lavigerie (1825-1892), Archbishop of Algiers and Carthage, Primate of Africa, founder of the Society of Missionaries of Africa which includes priests and brothers (“White Fathers”), and the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (“White Sisters”).
On November 26, 1892, Cardinal Lavigerie died in his episcopal residence of Saint-Eugène, in Algiers. He was 67 years old. Around his deathbed were gathered the representatives of all his works in Africa: among others, Bishop Livinhac and Father Michel of Jerusalem, Father Delattre and Abbé Bombard representing Carthage and Tunis, Mother Salomé, Superior of the Missionaries Sisters of our Lady of Africa, Fr. Buffet, superior of the Jesuits of Algiers, in addition to his secretary and his doctor.
This death, immediately known in France, then throughout the world, took on the proportions of a national and universal mourning. Pope Leo XIII, hearing the sad news, raised his hands to heaven, and recalled all that the Church was losing in this great man: “And I feel what I am losing. This Cardinal Lavigerie, I loved him like a brother, as the Apostle Peter loved his brother André. »
In his spiritual testament, after recalling his obedience and devotion to the Pope, Lavigerie reiterates his love for Africa. He writes this: “It is to you that I now come, O my dear Africa! I sacrificed everything to you, 17 years ago, when I left everything to give myself to your service… I express, once again, my hope to see the portion of this great continent return to the Christian religion… It is to this work that I have dedicated my life”.