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apotres

Like the Apostles...

He found them asleep

 

slideshow

François et l'équipe de la leproserie

Rev. Fr. François du Penhoat is back from Côte d’Ivoire where he went to visit the SMA Lyons Province Members working there. He spent 12 intense days visiting parishes, SMA institutes and formation houses. Here is his story giving us reasons

The weekend before his departure to Africa, Fr. François gave a talk on SMA’s work in Africa and explained the sense of being missionary in Africa today.The talk was given at Maison du 150 during the traditional Journées d’Amitié of Lyons Province.

DSCN2742 civ frHe said, Many French, seeing African priests working in France wonder whether there still need for missionaries in Africa. For him the question is relevant but looking at the different missionaries’ fields of work including their presence in Muslim milieu, their primary evangelization activities, their service to the most abandoned, the building and developing of Small Christian Communities in cities, their required involvement in peace and reconciliation process make necessary their presence in Africa.

Landing in the evening time on board A 380, Fr. Francois was surprised to see the immigration service well organized and quickly get hold to his luggage, he said the airport was organized to receive everybody.

His first visit was to the leprosery where, Fr. Francis Athimon, sma is chaplain. Fr. Eugenio Basso, vice regional of Côte d’Ivoire accompanied Fr. François during that visit the leprosery in Adzopé.

Camion Grumier sur la route d'AdzopéAdzopé is a town 80 km far from Abidjan, heading northeast towards Bondoukou and Abengourou, a rich region cocoa and coffee producer. Being a forest region they saw huge truck-logs taking the whole road.

Lyons provincial said, It is not long since Fr. Francis arrived at the leprosery. He had previously worked in Benin for a long time and then in Central African Republic where hold various positions; he had returned to France but later asked to go back to Africa for his last post. Francis is at the leprosery in replacement of Fr. Francesco, an Italian SMA priest who died two years ago. Fr. Francesco had spent 18 years in the leprosarium spiritually and materially careering for the sick with their relatives and had become well known in the entire town.

As a reminder the leprosarium started in 1942 with the female religious congregation Our Lady of the Apostles; after the war the Raoul Follereau foundation helped modernize and develop the center turning it into an important complex. However as time went on the center was nationalized, but even so, the sisters remained there working.

P. Francis et les massonsBecause of the good work Fr. Francesco did, after his dead, the leprosery director asked the SMA to replace him and the Center invested significant to renovate the chaplain’s house.

Arriving in the center, said Fr. François, they met Fr. Francis talking with two masons as he wants to build a laundry tub at the site of an old pigsty in the palm plantation. In the center, they could see vestiges of an old henhouse and a well-kept vegetable garden. There were many signs of Fr. Francesco’s 18 years sojourn in the place, he had built and made many achievements which unfortunately are now in the state of ruins, eaten by the misdeeds of the tropical humid climate. Fr. Francis Athimon is beginning an entire new era.

As a reminder the leprosarium started in 1942 with the female religious congregation Our Lady of the Apostles; after the war the Raoul Follereau foundation helped modernize and develop the center turning it into an important complex. However as time went on the center was nationalized, but even so, the sisters remained there working.

About that conversation, what Fr. Francis wants to do is far from being the construction of the Château de Versailles but to see the seriousness of their discussion on how to evacuate the wastewater from the building, one might think that they were discussion about a major work.

This shows how missionaries could be enthusiastic, sometimes, about what they do and stimulate people to take up the project with them till its achievement.

 

Papou Joli, sma

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