Missionaries of Africa


We (White Fathers) have all heard tell of Carthage at one time or another. Some more senior even studied there. However, for the younger set, at least for me, this name remains a mystery. Perhaps the modest information given below will enlighten us?

I. – The Scholasticate
Begun in 1871 at Maison Carrée under the direction of Fr. Garmelo SJ, it was transferred to OL of Africa in January 1873 under Fr. Gagnière SJ, then back to Maison Carrée (October 1874), where it was directed by Fr. Fridel SJ, until the 19th September 1875, when Fr. Livinhac took it over. It was entrusted to Fr. Aubert (March 1878-September 1880), then to Fr. Viven, when it was transferred to Carthage in October 1882, to the buildings of the Saint Louis College. Fr. Viven was Superior from 1882 till 1886; then came Fr. Bridoux, (1886-1888), Fr. Bazin (1888-1901), and Fr. Maillot (1901).

The house was extended twice, firstly in 1895 (a storey was added to the two wings of the building), then in 1898-1899 (building of the major wing). On the 29th June, 36 new priests were ordained; two others were due to be ordained in September. Along with the three ordained at Maison Carrée, there were 41 priests that year. In the Scholasticate at the end of December 1906, there were 8 Fathers (including the Superior and the Bursar), 96 scholastics and one soldier.

II. – Primatial Seat & Museum
Carthage mission post was founded in May 1875 to take custody of the shrine of Saint Louis. In 1879, a college was added to it, replaced in 1882 by the Scholasticate of the Society, to which was added the diocesan major seminary. The Chapter and Parish of the Primatial See took the place of the former chapel. This church, begun in May 1884 was consecrated by Cardinal Lavigerie in May 1890. The Cardinal was buried there on the 7th December 1892.

This mission post was famous as the archaeological museum of Fr. Delattre. It also had a dispensary and a school.
As a young priest, Fr. Gilli was a member of the Saint Louis mission community from the September. He was especially in charge of the spiritual care of the Italian population, as he spoke Italian. The post had 4 Fathers and 4 Coadjutors.

Basilique de nos jours

III. – Boukriss
This was a small farm not far from Carthage begun in 1902 under the direction of Fr. Janeau. It was to some extent the garden of the Scholasticate. In late 1902, it served as an infirmary for scholastics suffering dysentery.
The old Arab house was remodelled in 1906.
There were normally 2 Fathers and 2 Coadjutors at Boukriss.
From 1895, everything was done at Carthage: a philosophy seminary opened at Binson, France.

BINSON (Seminary)(Marne)
Separated from the Scholasticate in 1871, the philosophy course was set up at OL of Africa, and then re-joined to theology in 1886; it was re-installed at OL of Africa (1893). From there, the school was transferred to Boissy-Saint-Léger, France (1894) and from there to Binson (1895) under the direction of Fr. Michel, replaced in 1900 by Fr. Gabory. Besides philosophy, the first year of theology was done there.

The German, Belgian and Dutch aspirants no longer came to Binson, but did their philosophy and first year of theology at Trier, Antwerp and Boxtel respectively.

At the end of 1906, there were 6 Fathers and 53 aspirants at Binson.

Jacques Poirier, M.Afr. Petit Echo N° 1001