Read last week’s introductory article: Remaining in Congo | A Grateful Look at the Past
Last week we looked gratefully at a period in our history when two Brothers, Victor Kazadi and Placide Ngoie, cultivated the strength of the Holy Spirit and sought to keep the Xaverian Charism alive in the Congo. We are still present in the Congo, and so their efforts, when measured in this simple and ordinary way, have resulted in a resounding success. Since those precarious years, the Brothers reopened their formation program (in the late 1970’s through the efforts of Victor and Placide), a scholasticate (in the 1990’s), built new schools, and started addition mission outreach ministries.
We wish to describe some of the things that the Brothers in Congo are doing today. Things that they can do only while standing on the shoulders of Brother Victor and Placide, for had these two men not remained, there would likely be no Xaverian presence in the Congo.
The capitial city of the Katanga Province, Lumbumbashi is the center for government, industry (particularly mining), and education in the region. It is also the Metropolitan See for the Archdiocese of Lumbumbashi. This is the home of the Brothers house of studies (scholasticate) since the 1990’s.
In addition to their studies, scholastics involve themselves in several ministries, from education to involvement in local youth groups.
Brother Trésor discusses his work with youth in Lubumbashi during his time at the scholasticate, in the video above.
Likasi is the center for much of the Xaverian activity in Congo. Our largest school is there, College Tutazamie—where Brother Victor was Prefect—which houses a large primary school as well as a secondary school program. In another section of the city, known as Kikula, the Brothers sponsor S François Xavier primary school—another very large primary school serving over 2000 students. A few years ago, the Brothers opened the Rijken school—a pre-school program located in the neighborhood of the College.
Two social ministry projects have developed in Likasi. Maison Frère Georges is a program for young women who were abandoned or separated from their family and living on the streets. Here the women learn sustainable skills in sewing and cooking.
In addition to Maison Frère Georges, the Brothers also operate a program for street children. The Brothers provide them housing and food, as well as a structured environment to accompany them in their studies and life. A goal of the program is to reunite these young men with their family.
On this same property, the Brothers provide access to a well for the local community.
Moving approximately 125 miles Northeast of Lumbumbashi, we enter the remote village of Kasenga, where the Brothers came in the 1930’s to serve the local Congolese population. The Brothers had to withdraw in the 1970’s because of lack of personnel, but in 2009, four Congolese Brothers re-opened the mission as well as secondary and primary schools.
Kipushi is now the location of the Brothers’ International Novitiate–where young men go during their initial formation to prepare for their first vows as Brothers. Kipushi is a mining town located 20 miles southwest of Lubumbashi, along the Zambian border.
And so, the Brothers’ efforts to manifest care and compassionate love to world continue in this region of the world. The Xaverian passion is to live the present with compassion and love for those who are separated and estranged,…who suffer from want, neglect, and injustice: the poor, the weak, and the oppressed. Through their presence and ministry in the Congo, they continue to follow the vision of their Founder and be inspired by the faith of their confreres, Brothers Victor Kazadi and Placide Ngoie.
Next week we’ll see how Brothers embrace the future with hope through the inspiration of Brothers Victor and Placide.