A Group of laypeople linked to the White Sisters and White Fathers
Learn to be open to others
1. What is it ?
It is a group of laypeople inspired by a missionary ideal particularly oriented towards the African world. Guided by a White Father or White Sister, they meet regularly for sharing about their lives and for spiritual union in prayer.
The Paris Fraternity with Father Féderlé
It is a meeting in three periods
- A period of conviviality,
- A period of sharing
- A period of prayer
2. What does spiritual union mean ?
The Fraternity lives out a genuine sharing through open, free and uncomplicated discussion. It is a way to challenge one another in total confidence under the attentive eye of Christ.
3. What does that change ?
Buoyed up by the Fraternity, everyone can live his or her daily missionary life better. It helps us to keep our hearts and minds open to welcome others with their distinct individuality.
For more explanations See also the excerpt from our Review Petit Echo
Also : Missionary Movement of Africa (a group of laypeople) pilgrimage to the tomb of Cardinal Lavigerie
WHAT ABOUT YOU ?
To get to know us better, contact:
Fraternité ND dAfrique
Cécile de Firmas
46 rue des Orteaux
Tel :01 40 09 99 76
ou 06 65 30 89 26
NB: In France there are alternatives (in addition to the 'Fraternité Notre-Dame d'Afrique') where laypeople may be associated with the mission of the MSOLA and the Missionaries of Africa:· "AAPB": Associations for promoting various exhibitions such as the famous 'Vente-Expo.'
· "Groupe Agadès": A group which meets in Paris every month to enable 18-35 year olds exposure to missionary issues: get to know the countries, fair trade, migrants, and so on.
· "Famille Lavigerie": A group of members who receive a newsletter every three months.
· "Afrique-Jeunes": Young people invited to discover Africa by a trip to Africa.
"Fraternités Notre-Dame d'Afrique"
(Fraternities of Our Lady of Africa)
What is it? For whom?
The universal plan of God
Followers of Jesus Christ need God to be happy. It is also true that God needs us, men and women, the one no less than the other, to further his plan of love for our world. Jesus, the messenger of God chose for his mission friends and companions, not primarily to do something but to be with him.
When speaking of mission, call and vocation, we automatically think of religious missionary vocations arising from the Society of Missionaries of Africa and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, founded more than a hundred years ago to meet certain needs of the Church.
The Society of Missionaries of Africa
In the 1860s the hour of Africa struck for the Church. Divine Providence was on the watch and raised up Cardinal Lavigerie, then Archbishop of Algiers, 'the great Apostle of Africa' (according to the self-same words of Leo XIII). In 1868, he founded the Missionaries of Africa and in 1869 the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters, MSOLA), for the evangelisation of Africa.
He left Instructions to his Missionaries. Some years before his death, the core of his message was, "I have loved everything about our Africa. Love Africa, love its peoples as a mother loves her children." "My final recommendation, my dear children, and the most important is 'Love one another.' Remain united, heart and soul. Form a single family, hold fast to a union of hearts and minds." He wanted bearers of hope.
Cardinal Lavigerie himself had already appealed for lay Europeans and Africans in order to send them to other countries. There have already been thousands of men and women missionaries in both missionary Institutes he founded who were inspired by this charism and this Gospel mentality. Currently, a great number of laypeople also wish to take part in this mission. New relations are being made between laypeople and consecrated men and women missionaries. Laypeople have told WF and MSOLA, "We feel close to you. We would like the benefit of your charism and experience." This is not a new thing. However, it has extended to countries such as Canada, Congo, Tanzania, Burkina and other European countries, developing in several different ways.
Fraternités de ND d'Afrique (Fraternities of Our Lady of Africa)
New Gospel-based families, taking inspiration from Founders and Foundresses (those who invited others to view the Gospel under a certain light, to address a particular aspect of the Gospel), are springing up everywhere. Our new family called 'Fraternités de Notre Dame d'Afrique' (Fraternities of Our Lady of Africa) arose from the missionary drive and charism of Cardinal Lavigerie and the experience of our Institutes.
Laypeople, impressed by this missionary approach are seeking to deepen the charism and experience of both the Institutes he founded. It is a simultaneously apostolic and spiritual pathway.
- Apostolic Outlook: These are in fact new forms of missionary commitment. Laypeople wish to form families of apostles in union with our Institutes. They seek to make a missionary commitment in their circumstances of life, in their professional occupations, promoting the African world wherever they are in line with current objectives: New evangelisation, Justice and Peace, Integrity of Creation, Interreligious Dialogue, Christian-Muslim dialogue especially, promotion of women, and so on.
- Spiritual Outlook: These laypeople seeking to form Fraternities wish to live the Gospel in them according to the insight of Cardinal Lavigerie. His whole life was directed by a more than ordinary love for Jesus Christ our Saviour. One day he said to his missionaries, "My children, you have to be fixated on Jesus Christ, as I am myself." In order to do so, we have to be sustained by faith and prayer. He asked his missionaries to develop in themselves a 'strong and ardent attachment to Our Lord.'
Conclusions: It is a matter of
· Forming small family-style Gospel-sharing groups (preferably of 10-12 members) united by the charism and spirituality of Cardinal Lavigerie linked to the WF/MSOLA and the mission in Africa.
· Living as lay missionaries in one's own circumstances of life and work, inspired by a like missionary spirit, committed for the sake of Jesus Christ and Cardinal Lavigerie. Every missionary, whoever he or she is, shares his or her faith and convictions. We ourselves wish to share our convictions, our preferential love for Jesus and Africa and become his witnesses here and over there.
· Discovering the mission and spirituality of the WF and MSOLA, finding and being sustained by their ideals of life;
· Preferably, the members of the Fraternity live close to one another so as to meet easily regularly, in order to create bonds of sharing, reflection and prayer together and to assess their missionary commitment. A Missionary of Africa, Father or Sister, normally accompanies them. There is room to hope that one day there will be regional and international meetings as well as local.