In the past, missionaries were sent out from “Home Provinces” (Europe, Canada, USA) to work in Africa. Now, with the increase in numbers of African missionaries, the provinces in Africa have become “Home Provinces”. Different countries were linked together to form these provinces and all the provinces are on an equal footing although each has its own character. A Missionary of Africa can be sent to work in any province and whilst working there, belongs to that province.
Generalate / Asia
The Generalate in Rome
When the Missionaries of Africa were founded in 1868 the Generalate (also known as Mother House) was in Algeria. After Algerian Independence the Generalate (together with the body of Cardinal Lavigerie) was moved to Rome.
The Generalate is the centre of the Society in many ways. It is the largest community with 32 confreres or more at any given time and the confreres there have various activities.
First there is the General Council, composed of the Superior General (Fr. Stanislas Lubungo from Zambia), and his 4 councillors ( Fr Francis Barnes from UK, Fr. Didier Sawadogo from Burkina Faso, Fr. Martin Grenier from Canada and Fr. Ignatius Anipu from Ghana)
The Superior General is in overall charge of the Society. He and his 4 Assistants are elected for 6 years. The Assistants have specific areas of responsibility in the Society and travel around visiting confreres in the various Provinces, before coming back to Rome to share their experiences and news as a team.
Then there are the confreres who look after the necessary administrative functions (Secretariat, Translations, Archives, Media, Maintenance, etc.).
There are the confreres in Rome for further studies. Many are preparing for responsibilities in the Formation of future missionaries, but others are preparing for specialised ministries, e.g. Justice and Peace, Islamic Dialogue.
The community of PISAI (Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islam) is also in Rome (in a separate house) and is dependant on the Generalate. Originally founded by the Missionaries of Africa, PISAI is a college dedicated to the study and teaching of Arabic and Dialogue with Muslims. Originally founded in Algeria (Manouba) it was brought to Rome when the Generalate moved there.
An Asian province for the Missionaries of Africa has been discussed for several years, but a decision was only arrived at in the last Chapter (2016) when it was decided that the time was right.
1. India Sector – 2 communities
There are 2 houses of Formation in India.
The Aspirants’ House in Hosur, Tamil Nadu is for those who have not yet begun Philosophy studies.
The Candidates’ House in Bangalore, Karnataka State is for those studying Philosophy.
There are 14 Indian confreres. 4 are working in India and 10 elsewhere.
2. Philippines Sector – 1 community
The community in Cebu is for candidates studying Philosophy and is also a centre for Vocations Animation.
There are 7 Filipino confreres. 2 Filipino confreres are working in the Philippines and 5 elsewhere.
3. Vietnam Sector
As yet there are no details of this sector. There is already 1 Vietnamese confrere but he belongs to the German Sector (European Province) and works in East Africa.