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INTRODUCTION
The Response of the Church of Malta and Gozo to the Gospel´s Appeal...........................................
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6.5 Testimony of Bishop Markos Gebremedhin C.M.............................................................................
5
Chapter 17 CHAD............................................................................................................
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26.3 Lay Missionaries......................................................................................................
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31.3.4 The Missionary Society of St Paul (MSSP)............................................................................
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41.2 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).................................................................................
9
51.8 The Share Foundation .................................................................................................
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64.2 The SDC MUSEUM.......................................................................................................
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Introduction
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The Response of the Church
of Malta and Gozo to the
Gospel´s Appeal!
Fr John Caruana
When this daunting task came to my...
13
families to Australia, North America, and Western Europe started, the Church in Malta through the Emigrants Commission ...
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in all the nations through which our missionaries passed. Indeed this contribution was small and great at the same time...
15
young Churches so that Churches of ancient Christianity rediscover the enthusiasm and the joy of sharing the faith in a...
16
God’s love as revealed by Jesus Christ among their neighbours.”
Nearer to our times, the words of Pope Benedict XVI sti...
17
Introduction
missions! I am deeply convinced that this is only one event in a long chain of profoundly human experience...
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pressure groups caused the formation of the earliest political parties, and that literature in Maltese was born and mov...
19
how such a tiny nation has given so much to the rest of the world.As already stated, the Maltese bond between faith and...
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two-hour meetings, during which we discussed the various contributions coming from practically all over the globe, tryi...
21Africa
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Part One
NORTH AFRICA
Chapter 1
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ALGERIA
1.1 Augustinian Friars (OSA)
The presence of theAugustinian Friars...
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centre to distribute milk for babies, and people to serve as
sacristans. He offered a building and assured financial he...
24
the students came from very poor families. But she was loved
and was often invited to their ‘homes’ to share their meag...
25
2.1 Introduction
Early Maltese Presence in Egypt
In Il-Franġiskani Maltin, Fr George Aquilina OFM, says that
it is a fa...
The Maltese Missionary Experience by Fr.John Caruana
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The Maltese Missionary Experience by Fr.John Caruana

  1. 1. 3 INTRODUCTION The Response of the Church of Malta and Gozo to the Gospel´s Appeal..........................................................................................................................12 Pope Francis.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 Archbishop Paul Cremona.................................................................................................................................................................................................15 Bishop Mario Grech...........................................................................................................................................................................................................16 Professor Oliver Friggieri...................................................................................................................................................................................................17 A Hearty Thank You!..........................................................................................................................................................................................................19 AFRICA Chapter 1 ALGERIA................................................................................................................................................................................................22 1.1 Augustinian Friars (OSA).............................................................................................................................................................................................22 1.2 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)..................................................................................................................................................................23 Chapter 2 EGYPT......................................................................................................................................................................................................25 2.1 Introduction..................................................................................................................................................................................................................25 Early Maltese Presence in Egypt........................................................................................................................................................................................25 2.2 The Jesuits (SJ).............................................................................................................................................................................................................25 2.3 Franciscan Missionary Sisters of The Immaculate Heart of Mary (FMIHM) Missionaries of Egypt...................................................................27 2.4 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)...................................................................................................................................................................28 2.5 Missionaries of Charity (MC).....................................................................................................................................................................................28 2.6 Sisters of Charity (SOC..............................................................................................................................................................................................29 Chapter 3 LIBYA.............................................................................................................................................................................................................30 3.1 Church Origins and Mission in Libya..........................................................................................................................................................................30 3.2 Diocesan Priests...........................................................................................................................................................................................................32 3.3 The Franciscan Friars Minor (OFM)..........................................................................................................................................................................33 3.4 Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (DSH)...........................................................................................................................................................34 3.5 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)..................................................................................................................................................................34 3.6 Sisters of Charity (SOC).............................................................................................................................................................................................37 Chapter 4 MAROCCO....................................................................................................................................................................................................37 4.1 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM.....................................................................................................................................................................37 Chapter 5 TUNISIA.........................................................................................................................................................................................................38 5.1 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)....................................................................................................................................................................38 Chapter 6 ETHIOPIA......................................................................................................................................................................................................40 6.1 Missionary Society of St Paul......................................................................................................................................................................................40 6.2 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)....................................................................................................................................................................41 6.3 The Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus (FCJ)......................................................................................................................................................42 6.4 Sisters of St Joseph of The Apparition (SJA).............................................................................................................................................................46 SUMMARY
  2. 2. 4 6.5 Testimony of Bishop Markos Gebremedhin C.M.....................................................................................................................................................47 6.6 Lay Missionaries .........................................................................................................................................................................................................48 Chapter 7 KENYA............................................................................................................................................................................................................49 7.1The Franciscan Capuchins (OFM)...............................................................................................................................................................................49 7.2The Jesuits (SJ).............................................................................................................................................................................................................53 7.3 The Daughters of The Sacred Heart of Jesus (DSH)...................................................................................................................................................55 7.4 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)............................................................................................................................................................57 7.5 The Franciscan Sisters of The Heart of Jesus(FCJ).....................................................................................................................................................57 7.6 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters) (MSOLA).......................................................................................................................58 7.7 Lay Missionaries Members of the Society of Christian Doctrine (SDC)....................................................................................................................60 Chapter 8 MALAWI........................................................................................................................................................................................................62 8.1 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA)..................................................................................................................................................62 Chapter 9 SUDAN............................................................................................................................................................................................................63 9.1 The Jesuits (SJ)............................................................................................................................................................................................................63 9.2 Daughters of St Paul.....................................................................................................................................................................................................63 9.3 Sisters of Charity (SOC)..............................................................................................................................................................................................64 9.4 Lay Missionaries..........................................................................................................................................................................................................64 Chapter 10 TANZANIA...................................................................................................................................................................................................67 10.1 The Franciscan Friars (OFM Cap.)............................................................................................................................................................................67 10.2 The Jesuits (SJ).........................................................................................................................................................................................................67 10.3 Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM)....................................................................................................................................................................68 10.4 The Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers )and The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters) (MSOLA.................................69 10.5 Malta and Cardinal Lavigeri.....................................................................................................................................................................................71 Chapter 11 BENIN...........................................................................................................................................................................................................73 11.1 Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM).....................................................................................................................................................................73 Chapter 12 GHANA.........................................................................................................................................................................................................75 12.1 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)...........................................................................................................................................................75 12.2 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady.................................................................................................................................................................................76 Chapter 13 LIBERIA.......................................................................................................................................................................................................76 13.1 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).................................................................................................................................................................76 Chapter 14 NIGERIA......................................................................................................................................................................................................80 14.1 The Salesians (SDB)..................................................................................................................................................................................................80 Chapter 15 SENEGAL.....................................................................................................................................................................................................82 15.1 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)..................................................................................................................................................................82 Chapter 16 BURUNDI.....................................................................................................................................................................................................83 16.1The Jesuits (SJ)............................................................................................................................................................................................................83
  3. 3. 5 Chapter 17 CHAD............................................................................................................................................................................................................84 17.1 Sisters of Charity (SOC)............................................................................................................................................................................................83 Chapter 18 CONGO.........................................................................................................................................................................................................85 18.1 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)...........................................................................................................................................................85 18.2 Sisters of The Sacred HEART of Jesus (RSCJ)........................................................................................................................................................86 Chapter 19 RWANDA......................................................................................................................................................................................................87 19.1 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA)................................................................................................................................................87 Chapter 20 SOUTH AFRICA.........................................................................................................................................................................................88 20.1 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)...........................................................................................................................................................88 20.2 The Little Sisters of Jesus (LSJ)................................................................................................................................................................................90 20.3 The Little Sisters of The Gospel.................................................................................................................................................................................92 20.4 Lay Missionaries........................................................................................................................................................................................................93 THE AMERICAS Chapter 21 CANADA......................................................................................................................................................................................................96 21.1 The Beginnings...........................................................................................................................................................................................................96 21.2 The New Church........................................................................................................................................................................................................97 21.3 The Missionary Sisters of Jesus of Nazaret (MSJN).................................................................................................................................................99 21.4 The Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Therese of The Child Jesus (CSST).........................................................................................................99 Chapter 22 THE MALTESE CHURCH IN THE USA...............................................................................................................................................100 22.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................100 22.2 Missionary Society of St. Paul (MSSP)..................................................................................................................................................................106 22.3 The Augustinian Sisters (OSA)...............................................................................................................................................................................107 22.4 Daughters of The Sacred Heart (DSH)....................................................................................................................................................................107 22.5 Franciscan Sisters of The Immaculate Heart of Mary (FMIHM).............................................................................................................................107 CENTRALAMERICA..................................................................................................................................................................................................109 Chapter 23 EL SALVADOR..........................................................................................................................................................................................109 Chapter 24 GUATEMALA............................................................................................................................................................................................112 24.1 Diocesan Priests........................................................................................................................................................................................................113 24.2 Missionaries of Charity (MC)..................................................................................................................................................................................116 Chapter 25 HONDURAS...............................................................................................................................................................................................117 25.1 The Friars Minor (OFM)..........................................................................................................................................................................................117 25.2 New Bishop of Juticalpa: Mgr Jose Bonello............................................................................................................................................................118 Chapter 26 CUBA..........................................................................................................................................................................................................123 26.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................123 26.2 The Franciscan Capuchins........................................................................................................................................................................................126
  4. 4. 6 26.3 Lay Missionaries......................................................................................................................................................................................................126 Chapter 27 TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS............................................................................................................................................................128 27.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................128 Chapter 28 BOLIVIA....................................................................................................................................................................................................131 28.1 The Carmelites (OCarm)..........................................................................................................................................................................................131 Chapter 29 BRAZIL......................................................................................................................................................................................................134 29.1 Missionary Project for the Malta Seminary.............................................................................................................................................................134 29.2 Creation of Three Dioceses in The State of Parana..................................................................................................................................................135 29.3 The Seminaries in Brazil..........................................................................................................................................................................................136 29.4 North of Parana :- The Social Milieu.......................................................................................................................................................................137 29.5 The Archdiocese of Londrina...................................................................................................................................................................................139 29.6 The Archdiocese of Maringa....................................................................................................................................................................................145 29.7 The Diocese of Apucarana.......................................................................................................................................................................................156 29.8 The Archdiocese of São Paulo..................................................................................................................................................................................160 29.9 The Diocese of Osasco.............................................................................................................................................................................................163 The North East: Seminarians and Priests from Gozo.......................................................................................................................................................169 29.10 Paraiba....................................................................................................................................................................................................................170 29.11 Pernambuco............................................................................................................................................................................................................176 The Diocese of Recife......................................................................................................................................................................................................176 29.12 State of Alagoas......................................................................................................................................................................................................178 29.13 The Dominicans (OP)............................................................................................................................................................................................183 29.14 The Augustinians....................................................................................................................................................................................................191 29.15 The Augustinian Sisters - OSA.............................................................................................................................................................................198 29.16 The Franciscan Sisters of The Heart of Jesus (FCJ)..............................................................................................................................................200 29.17 Testimony of Dr Micallef Stafrace.........................................................................................................................................................................204 29.18 The Diocese of Guajará-Mirim..............................................................................................................................................................................206 Chapter 30 CHILE.........................................................................................................................................................................................................209 30.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................209 30.2 The Jesuits (SJ)........................................................................................................................................................................................................210 30.3 Lay Missionaries......................................................................................................................................................................................................213 Chapter 31 COLOMBIAAND PERU..........................................................................................................................................................................214 31.1 The Carmelites (OCarm)..........................................................................................................................................................................................214 31.2 The Franciscan Capuchins (OFM Cap)....................................................................................................................................................................215 31.3 PERU .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................216 31.3.1 Diocesan Priests....................................................................................................................................................................................................216 31.3.2 The Carmelites (O. CARM).................................................................................................................................................................................218
  5. 5. 7 31.3.4 The Missionary Society of St Paul (MSSP)..........................................................................................................................................................218 31.3.5 Lay Missionaries...................................................................................................................................................................................................220 Chapter 32 PARAGUAY AND ARGENTINA.............................................................................................................................................................224 32.1 Sr Eufemia Buhagiar................................................................................................................................................................................................224 ASIA Chapter 33 KUWAIT......................................................................................................................................................................................................226 Chapter 34 IRAQ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................230 Chapter 35 ISRAEL......................................................................................................................................................................................................231 35.1 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).........................................................................................................................................................231 35.2 Sisters of St. Joseph of The Apparition (SJA)........................................................................................................................................................233 35.3 Sisters of Our Lady of Sion......................................................................................................................................................................................233 35.4 JERUSALEM: Community of San Salvatore.........................................................................................................................................................237 Chapter 36 LEBANON..................................................................................................................................................................................................238 36.1 The Jesuits (SJ).........................................................................................................................................................................................................238 Chapter 37 TURKEY.....................................................................................................................................................................................................240 37.1 Franciscan Conventual Presence.............................................................................................................................................................................240 Chapter 38 BURMA.......................................................................................................................................................................................................243 38.1 - Franciscan Missionaries of Mary...........................................................................................................................................................................243 Chapter 39 INDIA..........................................................................................................................................................................................................244 39.1 The Capuchins (OFM Cap.).....................................................................................................................................................................................244 39.2 The Conventual Franciscans (OFM Conv.)..............................................................................................................................................................247 39.3 The Jesuits (SJ)........................................................................................................................................................................................................252 39.4 The Salesians of Don Bosco.....................................................................................................................................................................................266 39.5 Daughters of The Sacred Heart (DSH)...................................................................................................................................................................272 39.6 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)..............................................................................................................................................................274 39.7 Sisters of St. Joseph of The Apparition (SJA).........................................................................................................................................................277 39.8 The Society of the Sacred Heart...............................................................................................................................................................................279 39.9 Lay Missionaries......................................................................................................................................................................................................280 Chapter 40 PAKISTAN..................................................................................................................................................................................................285 40.1 The Dominican Sisters (OP).....................................................................................................................................................................................285 40.2 The Franciscan Sisters of The Heart of Jesus (FCJ)...............................................................................................................................................291 40.3 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)........................................................................................................................................................297 40.4 Sisters of Charity (SOC)..........................................................................................................................................................................................300 Chapter 41 SRI LANKA................................................................................................................................................................................................304 41.1 The Dominican Sisters (OP).....................................................................................................................................................................................304
  6. 6. 8 41.2 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)...............................................................................................................................................................306 Chapter 42 INDONESIA...............................................................................................................................................................................................309 Chapter 43 LAOS...........................................................................................................................................................................................................311 43.1 Sisters of Charity (SOC)...........................................................................................................................................................................................311 Chapter 44 MALASYA..................................................................................................................................................................................................311 44.1 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).................................................................................................................................................................311 Chapter 45 THE PHILIPINES.....................................................................................................................................................................................312 45.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................312 45.2 The Missionary Society of St Paul (MSSP).............................................................................................................................................................317 45.3 The Augustinian Sisters - OSA................................................................................................................................................................................318 45.4 Daughters of the Sacred Heart (DSH)......................................................................................................................................................................318 45.5 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)................................................................................................................................................................319 45.6 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa................................................................................................................................................................320 45.7 The Sisters of St Dorothy.........................................................................................................................................................................................321 Chapter 46 THAILAND................................................................................................................................................................................................322 46.1 De La Salle Brothers (FSC).....................................................................................................................................................................................322 46.2 Sisters of Charity (SOC)..........................................................................................................................................................................................323 Chapter 47 CHINA........................................................................................................................................................................................................324 47.1 The Franciscans........................................................................................................................................................................................................324 47.2 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)................................................................................................................................................................325 Chapter 48 JAPAN.........................................................................................................................................................................................................326 Chapter 49 KOREA.......................................................................................................................................................................................................326 The Experience of a Family in South Korea....................................................................................................................................................................326 Chapter 50 TAIWAN......................................................................................................................................................................................................330 50.1 Discalced Carmelites................................................................................................................................................................................................330 50.2 The Sisters of St. Dorothy........................................................................................................................................................................................330 EUROPE Chapter 51 MALTA........................................................................................................................................................................................................334 51.1 Pope John Paul II at Sanctuary of Mellieha.............................................................................................................................................................334 51.2 Outstanding Testimonies..........................................................................................................................................................................................335 51.3 TMissionary Society of St Paul (MSSP)..................................................................................................................................................................336 51.4 Daughters of the Sacred Heart (DSH)....................................................................................................................................................................336 51.5 The Franciscan Sisters of The Heart of Jesus (FCHJ)............................................................................................................................................337 51.6 The Societas Doctrinae Cristianae (SDC)................................................................................................................................................................339 51.7 The Voluntary Lay Missionary (VLM)....................................................................................................................................................................340
  7. 7. 9 51.8 The Share Foundation .............................................................................................................................................................................................342 51.9 Lisette Rizzo Naudi Memorial Fund ......................................................................................................................................................................342 51.10 The Movement “JESUS IN THY NEIGHBOUR”...............................................................................................................................................343 Chapter 52 AUSTRIA....................................................................................................................................................................................................344 Chapter 53 BELGIUM..................................................................................................................................................................................................346 Daughters of the Sacred Heart (DSH)..............................................................................................................................................................................346 Chapter 54 FRANCE.....................................................................................................................................................................................................346 Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition (SJA)....................................................................................................................................................................346 Chapter 55 GERMANY.................................................................................................................................................................................................347 Diocesan Priests...............................................................................................................................................................................................................347 Chapter 56 FAROE ISLANDS......................................................................................................................................................................................350 Chapter 57 LATVIA......................................................................................................................................................................................................352 Chapter 58 NORWAY....................................................................................................................................................................................................353 Chapter 59 ENGLAND..................................................................................................................................................................................................355 59.1 Fr Victor J. Camilleri (MSSP)..................................................................................................................................................................................355 59.2 The Francisan Friars (OFM CAP.)..........................................................................................................................................................................355 59.3 The Benedictines......................................................................................................................................................................................................356 59.4 The Augustinian Sisters (OSA)...............................................................................................................................................................................356 59.5 The Dominican Sisters (OP)....................................................................................................................................................................................357 59.6 Sisters of St Joseph of The Apparition (SJA).........................................................................................................................................................357 59.7 The Society of The Sacred Heart (RSCJ)................................................................................................................................................................358 59.8 Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA)............................................................................................................................................359 59.9 SDC M.U.S.E.U.M...................................................................................................................................................................................................360 Chapter 60 CZECH REPUBLIC..................................................................................................................................................................................362 60.1 The Sisters of the Good Shepherd............................................................................................................................................................................362 Chapter 61 GEORGIA..................................................................................................................................................................................................364 Neo-Cathecumenal Way...................................................................................................................................................................................................364 Chapter 62 POLAND.....................................................................................................................................................................................................365 62.1 The Missionary Carmelites of St Therese (O. Carm.)..............................................................................................................................................365 62.2 The Societas Doctrinae Cristiana SDC.....................................................................................................................................................................366 Chapter 63 ROMANIA..................................................................................................................................................................................................367 63.1 De La Salle Brothers - Thomas Bilocca (FSC)........................................................................................................................................................367 63.2 The Jesuits (SJ)........................................................................................................................................................................................................368 63.3 Sisters of St Joseph of The Apparition (SJA).........................................................................................................................................................369 Chapter 64 ALBANIA....................................................................................................................................................................................................371 64.1 The Dominicans (OP)...............................................................................................................................................................................................371
  8. 8. 10 64.2 The SDC MUSEUM................................................................................................................................................................................................377 64.3 The Legion of Mary ................................................................................................................................................................................................381 Chapter 65 GIBRALTAR..............................................................................................................................................................................................383 Diocesan Priests...............................................................................................................................................................................................................383 Chapter 66 GREECE.....................................................................................................................................................................................................384 66.1 The Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus............................................................................................................................................................384 Chapter 67 ITALY..........................................................................................................................................................................................................385 67.1 Diocesan Priests.......................................................................................................................................................................................................385 67.2 Madre Anselma Mifsud ...........................................................................................................................................................................................390 67.3 Franciscan Missionaries of The Immaculate of Mary..............................................................................................................................................392 OCEANIA Chapter 68 AUSTRALIA..............................................................................................................................................................................................394 68.1 Introduction..............................................................................................................................................................................................................394 68.2 Diocesan Priest.........................................................................................................................................................................................................395 68.3 The Missionary of St Paul (MSSP).........................................................................................................................................................................402 68.4 The Carmelites (O. CARM)....................................................................................................................................................................................403 68.5 The Franciscan Friars (OFM).................................................................................................................................................................................403 68.6 The Augustinian Sisters (OSA)...............................................................................................................................................................................406 68.7 The Dominican Sisters (O.P)...................................................................................................................................................................................406 68.8 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)........................................................................................................................................................408 68.9 The Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus (FCJ).................................................................................................................................................409 68.10 Lay Missionaries....................................................................................................................................................................................................413 Chapter 69 TASMANIA................................................................................................................................................................................................421 Chapter 70 THE PACIFIC OCEAN.............................................................................................................................................................................422 Chapter 71 PAPUA NEW GUINEA.............................................................................................................................................................................423 71. 1 The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM)........................................................................................................................................................423 71.2 Dr Nazarene Azzopardi...........................................................................................................................................................................................423 Design and Development www.digimaxbrasil.com.br
  9. 9. 11 Introduction
  10. 10. 12 The Response of the Church of Malta and Gozo to the Gospel´s Appeal! Fr John Caruana When this daunting task came to my mind, I never imagined it would open such a wide horizon of world- wide contacts: I met bishops serving in different countries and environments, I met seminary rectors, vicar generals, hardworking parish priests and dedicated administrators on parochial and diocesan level. As one of them summed it up to me: “We have really and truly built all this from scratch and our hands have become callous”.  They really and truly helped organise the administration, the economics and above all the fundamental principles that should guide a diocese or a religious institution. And this is true of diocesan priests and religious, male and female, and in some cases even committed laity. I also met diocesan coordinators of the pastoral activity – an all-important activity in the Church that emerged after Vatican II. I met others who made decisive contributions in the social field, participating directly in structural reforms like the agricultural and urban reforms. I met a colleague who came almost face to face with the guerrillas in and around his parish. Another  one was involved in the defence of human rights in Latin America, and still another colleague who had helped thousands of families gain a piece of land, making land reform a reality, no more a dream. So many religious, male and female, who for decades worked in countries under dictatorial regimes continuously threatened by civil war, or in a Muslim society whose mission was to mark a presence knowing that they are destined to remain a minority all their life. It was heartening indeed to meet religious who were expelled from their adopted country and instead of returning to their home country beseeched their superior to post them to another mission.  It was an experience to speak to a priest working in the distant forest where he could only be reached by a two hour flight from the nearest airport or a one month journey by boat, and who in this remote place found a way to study and become a doctor to better serve the marginalised sick, deep in the forest. The Brazilian, Indian and Pakistani nuns I spoke to admitted they owe their religious vocation to the Maltese Church – a marvellous admission indeed! So many confessed to me they were involved in direct help to the poor with massive help coming from Malta and Gozo. These cared for the sick in their homes and in the hospitals, helped by a host of parish priests, most of the time being the only priest that has to care for the pastoral work we are accustomed to. The majority of other priests had to cope with the thorny problem of constructions in extensive new parishes which very often cropped up overnight, in countries where in building a new church or a pastoral centre they had to cope with spiralling inflation.  These new parishes were the result of the internal migration which, as a social force, is very common in large countries. When after World War II the emigration of thousands of Maltese
  11. 11. 13 families to Australia, North America, and Western Europe started, the Church in Malta through the Emigrants Commission and the backing of Archbishop Michael Gonzi responded to the emigrants` spiritual needs by sending several priests and religious. The “massive help” coming from Malta and Gozo I referred to earlier should not be underestimated. Recently, at the time of writing, a study was published dealing with contributions made by individual countries to help solve world poverty. To my pleasant surprise, Malta was posted in the first place in its financial help given to poor countries. If this is so, one can easily conclude that the Maltese were positively influenced by the generosity of so many priests, religious and laity serving the Church in so many poor countries as missionaries. I tried during these last two years or so to make personal contact with as many missionaries as possible. I had fruitful interviews with them and I can testify that every missionary found it enjoyable remembering how it all started – the sufferings encountered to separate oneself from one´s relatives and friends and the Maltese environment in general. They agreed that this would not have been possible had there not been built in them a great love for the Church, instilled in them in the first place by their families. This love developed in an ardent desire to go and preach the Gospel where it was needed, whether in the first, second or third world. Jointly with all this was an obsession, yes, one could call it so, to help the poor who lacked everything especially in the third world countries. As one missionary put it to me: “this missionary adventure of one and all, including of the nuns and sisters, who very often arrived first in these far off countries before us men, helped the Maltese people as a whole to be interested in the huge problems that beset these countries.”  And still, one other missionary put it to me in these words: “this positive point should be attributed to the Church of Malta and Gozo, which despite its internal contradictions and divisions, succeeded to pass on to us this difficult call of the Gospel – to leave family, friend and country and follow Christ and preach Him where he was not sufficiently known or not known at all, and serve the poor because of Him”.   Indeed any authentic historian of the Church in Malta and Gozo cannot fail to delve and try to discover the secret behind this hidden force, which impelled an appreciable number of its sons and daughters to serve the Church beyond our shores for a number of years. Some never came back. The first missionary from the ranks of the Maltese Missionaries of St. Paul – the MSSP – who made it to Abyssinia stayed for thirty years or more. In fact he never returned - he was buried in Abyssinia – and he was not the only one! On the other hand, as one missionary put it to us when we were still at the Seminary, we should be able to appreciate those who dedicate themselves to this cause for a limited number of years. It was good to hear, in my conversations with families whose head had once served the church as a priest or religious, and were now married, the comment “The Church never disappeared from the life of my husband”. Other people at large praised those ex-priests who were now in their new vocation as married men. Whilst understandably they tried to make a future for their families, they still made it a point to help their adopted country, in fields where special talents were lacking. We must also be thankful for those who after serving in the mission for ten, fifteen, twenty or more years, have returned to their homeland to regain their health or to pass the last years of their lives with friends or relatives they had grown up with, relating the beautiful and sad experiences they had passed through. An elderly priest once aptly pointed out to me: even the eagle which flies far and wide during all its life, at the end goes back to its original nest. The Church in Malta gave birth to an epoch which saw its members grow and flourish and bear abundant fruit in the fertile land of the world´s five continents. This marvellous epoch may pass, but as long as it lasts, it continues to leave an indelible mark Introduction
  12. 12. 14 in all the nations through which our missionaries passed. Indeed this contribution was small and great at the same time. Small reflecting our population size and Great because the Maltese Church owes its birth to the Greatest of the Apostles, St. Paul. His shipwreck and acceptance of the gospel by the inhabitants as recorded at length in the Acts of the Apostles, bore abundant fruit. I tried to be true and just with all the communities who served in all the countries in the five continents. If I have left out anybody who tried to enter in contact with me, it was not planned and I therefore apologise. The aim of the book is not meant to be a history book, although one meets some patches of historical background. As its name implies, The Maltese Missionary Experience the aim of the book is to show the span of the nations visited by our missionaries and through the experience of several of them one can have an idea of the work they tried to embark upon. This aim, I believe, was achieved because the collaboration from the various missions was outstanding. This book is meant to help the reader feel the Drama these people lived and are living, and also help the reader realise that the life of these people was and is indeed a Celebration of Faith! My final purpose, after all, was to give glory to God for such generosity among the Maltese and Gozitans. My thanks goes to all who helped me achieve this goal.   Message of Pope Francis on Mission Sundaw 2013 I would like to encourage all to become bearers of the good news of Christ and I am grateful especially to missionaries, to the Fidei Donum priests, men and women religious and lay faithful - more and more numerous – who by accepting the Lord’s call, leave their homeland to serve the Gospel in different lands and cultures. But I would also like to emphasise that these same young churches are engaging generously in sending missionaries to the Churches that are in difficulty - not infrequently Churches of ancient Christianity - thus bringing the freshness and enthusiasm with which they live their faith that renews life and gives hope.  To live in this universal freshness, responding to the mandate of Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28, 19) is richness for each particular Church, each community because sending missionaries is never a loss, but a gain. I appeal to all those who feel the call to respond generously to the Holy Spirit, according to your state in life, not to be afraid to be generous with the Lord. I also invite Bishops, religious families, communities and all Christian groups to support, with foresight and careful discernment, theAd Gentes missionary call and help Churches that need priests, religious and laity to strengthen the Christian community. And this attention should also be present among Churches that are part of the same Episcopal Conference or Region because it is important that Churches rich in vocations help more generously those that suffer their shortage. Together I urge the missionaries, especially the Fidei Donum priests and laity to live with joy their precious service in the Churches to which they are sent and to bring their joy and experience to the Churches from which they come, remembering how Paul and Barnabas at the end of their first missionary journey “reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). They can become the way to a kind of “return” of faith, bringing the freshness of the Introduction
  13. 13. 15 young Churches so that Churches of ancient Christianity rediscover the enthusiasm and the joy of sharing the faith in an exchange that is mutual enrichment in the journey of following the path of the Lord. The concern towards all the Churches, that the Bishop of Rome shares with his brother Bishops, is an important commitment in the implementation of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio). Missio is called to enable Christians to offer their prayers and their help to spread the Gospel in the world and deepen the missionary conscience of every baptised Christian and of every community, by reminding them of the need for a more profound missionary formation of the whole People of God. Finally a thought to Christians who, in various parts of the world, have difficulty in openly professing their faith and in being recognised and given the right to live with dignity. They are our brothers and sisters, courageous witnesses - even more numerous than our martyrs in the early centuries - who endure with apostolic perseverance the many current forms of persecution. Quite a few also risk their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ. I wish to assure my closeness in prayer to individuals, families and communities who suffer violence and intolerance and I repeat to them the consoling words of Jesus: “Take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). Benedict XVI exhorted that: “the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you” (“2Thess 3:1): May this Year of Faith increasingly strengthen our relationship with Christ the Lord, since only in him is there the certitude for looking to the future and the guarantee of an authentic and lasting love” (Porta Fidei, 15). This is my wish for World Mission Sunday this year. I cordially bless missionaries and all those who accompany and support this fundamental commitment of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to all corners of the earth, and we, ministers and missionaries of the Gospel, will experience “the delightful and comforting joy of evangelising” (PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi,80.) From the Vatican, 19 May 2013, Solemnity of Pentecost. Message from Mgr. Paul Cremona, Archbishop of Malta  So often has it been said that St Paul had brought the Faith of the Good News to our shores but he had also sown in the Maltese hearts a missionary seed that has borne so much fruit.  After all, St Paul was himself the greatest missionary the Church has ever had. No wonder, St John Paul II in his first Pastoral visit to our islands in 1990 had these words to say to the Maltese missionaries and their families gathered in the square of the Sanctuary of Il-Madonna tal-Mellieha: “It fills us with great joy to see the dedication of so many sons and daughters of these islands who have answered the call of the Lord to do mission work abroad.  Such an answer is the spiritual fruit of the Faith that the Apostle had sowed in these islands centuries ago... if only other countries follow the example of Malta where the Catholic Faith has flourished for centuries and as many as their men and women leading ordinary, daily life, will also bear witness to the mystery of Introduction
  14. 14. 16 God’s love as revealed by Jesus Christ among their neighbours.” Nearer to our times, the words of Pope Benedict XVI still echo in our ears.  A few hours after he had landed on the 17th April 2010, he was driven to the Parish Church of St Paul in Rabat to meet a good number of the Maltese missionaries gathered inside the church. Afterwards, standing before the Grotto of St Paul, he addressed the gathering with these words: “Paul’s Apostolic work has borne abundant fruit in generations of missionaries who have followed in his footsteps.  We note the great number of priests and religious who have imitated his missionary zeal by leaving the shores of these islands to carry the Good News to distant lands.  Today, I have been given the opportunity to meet so many of these in this church dedicated to St Paul. I encourage you in this challenging and heroic call.” Then Pope Benedict turned to face the missionaries around him and in a moving voice said: “Your presence and your work in so many parts of the world does honour to your country and is a telling witness of the evangelical stimulus deep-rooted in the Maltese Church.” The missionary call has been heard by so many generous hearts that have heard the call and accepted it.  When the Priest is baptising, he makes the sign of the Cross on the child’s ears bidding them open to the Word of God and then he makes the sign of the Cross on the child’s lips bidding them spread the Word. He will be encouraging the new members of the Church to dedicate their life to the apostolate. So many diocesan priests, religious and even laymen have heard the call, have risen to the occasion and have left our shores to go and spread the Good News abroad. It was, therefore, fitting that someone would write down the story of so many missionaries who have left our country to bear witness to Christ in far off lands. In this book, Fr John Caruana has taken the initiative to record this story of generosity and heroism. He did not write a chronology of events as they had happened in time but instead he opted to record personal experiences of those who had answered the call to go to the missions.  Reading this book, we cannot but be overwhelmed by the spirituality and generosity of so many hearts and in all humility thank God for the fruit reaped by these missionaries. Such zeal and determination cannot but make us stand up and note, look at the Missions in a new light and make us participate more in their work through prayer and financial support.  Message from Mgr Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo Message of a culture of love Last summer, while attending a meeting in Rimini, I was invited to visit an exhibition about the history of the Church in Albania. The guide’s cry of astonishment upon learning that I came from Malta, still reverberates in my heart. With glowing eyes she asked for Fr. Emanuel Cutajar, one of our missionaries in Albania. This young woman explained that she was a university lecturer thanks to the help of this Gozitan missionary priest who helped her obtain a university degree from an Italian University. This episode will remain imprinted in my memory! It was a confirmation of the great good this priest is doing in the Introduction
  15. 15. 17 Introduction missions! I am deeply convinced that this is only one event in a long chain of profoundly human experiences tied to the many priests, religious and lay persons from the Diocese of Gozo, who through the years left our island to go to the missions. Who can recount all the beautiful life stories written by so many individuals, families and communities with the exceptional help offered by our missionaries! These missionaries gave up their life in order to lay the foundations of both the Church and society. As much as they raised churches for the Divine cult, they likewise set up social structures for the safeguard of human dignity.  Insomuch as they proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so they spoke up for human rights especially for social justice! It was not enough that they built homes, hospitals, schools and homes for orphans; they also laboured hard to build a culture of love which is the soul of all ecclesial and social structures. I am most grateful to our missionaries who with their priceless work succeeded to widen the confines of this diocese! Their contribution ensured that the local church puts human and material resources at the service of the missions! I firmly believe that one of our treasures is the generosity of the Gozitans towards the missions. I am referring both to the recurrent generous contributions of the faithful and to the present missionaries, in particular the young lay missionaries! I am grateful to Fr. John Caruana for compiling all this precious information thus producing a fitting monument for those missionaries who not only generated life in missionary countries but also served to keep our Christian faith alive. As Pope Paul VI once said: a Church which has lost its missionary spirit, is a lifeless church Dr Oliver Friggieri The strong relationship between history and faith in Malta is one of the essential components defining the island. It can be said that the importance of religion predates even the arrival of Saint Paul, as the Maltese ancient stone buildings are themselves the earliest expression of ritual in the life of the inhabitants. Throughout the centuries this legacy attained even greater importance, to the point that for various centuries no distinction could be identified between politics and religion. Although such a traditional identification was inevitably bound to lead to conflict, it can be safely assumed that faith and culture flourished in Malta as two forms of expression of one single phenomenon: interest in truth which in itself is limitless, resisting being closed within the rigid confines of the small island. Both Christianity and culture flourished together as the complex essence of one single community.      Such a long, uninterrupted bond led to the local priest being naturally considered as the real moral and political leader of the Maltese. The clergy is identifiable with the more important developments of modern Malta. It is mainly due to the clerical influence on the rest of the population, and mainly of the intellectual sector, that, for instance, nineteenth century
  16. 16. 18 pressure groups caused the formation of the earliest political parties, and that literature in Maltese was born and moved ahead in its various initial stages. For instance, Malta’s main national hero, Mikiel Xerri, and national hero, Carmelo Psaila, were both priests. This point can be developed at length and in diverse directions, always conducive to the basic conclusion: the clergy constituted a solid point of reference in all fields of political activity and artistic achievement. At the core of such a situation is the fact that, although dominated by foreign powers, the island, traditionally deprived of basic rights, was already organised on a national level, namely as an organic  system based on a number of parishes. Malta could eventually claim to attain nationhood through its being organised in terms of a number of parochial districts, and so it could finally claim to be recognised as a state. At the centre of all this there was the Parish Priest, the effective, but unacknowledged political leader of his community. In such a context the importance of the Maltese clergy in the international field can be immediately explained and understood. Numerous diocesan priests, friars and nuns have long decided that they could give their share to the spread of the Gospel even outside the restricted territory of the island. Their contribution to the universal Church is old, uninterrupted, wide and consistent. These people have literally invaded the Church worldwide. They all felt the urge to go beyond the limits of their country, almost to prove that Malta was strong enough as to insert itself in numerous countries. The main motive behind such a massive presence of Maltese missionaries is, of course, religious. They were and still are driven by the conviction that evangelisation knows no national barriers, and is by definition universal. But it cannot be ignored that they all tended to somehow retain their Maltese identity wherever they settled. If such an interpretation is correct, then it follows that the historical relationship of the Maltese Church with the Maltese reality itself was never ignored or bypassed.  As the influence of the Vatican Council started to be felt at all levels within the Church, numerous lay persons, both male and female, became aware that, given the new approach of the Church as well as their own nature in the field of evangelisation, they themselves could now give their share. Their presence within such a movement further shows that the sense of the universal Church was always felt within the local one.    Such a book on such an accomplishment was long overdue. Rev. Fr. John Caruana, himself a missionary who has spent so many years in Brazil, has compiled such an exhaustive account not simply out of an obvious deep sense of respect towards his colleagues, but also with the aim of further putting the Catholic Church of Malta in its proper universal perspective. His research into the matter is a work of love, indeed an expression of his desire to see such people duly recognised and appreciated for what they have done on such a wide scale as both Catholic and Maltese. Again, this dual character of such a compendium cannot be ignored or underestimated. Fr John, as the author is affectionately known by all his friends of his generation and perhaps by others as well, has really done a good job which will be duly appreciated by all. As one goes through this detailed account, equally impressive and fascinating in terms of words and photos, one cannot fail to feel a profound sense of appreciation and gratitude towards so many religious members of the Maltese people. They have given so much to so many for such a long time. Father Caruana has done a job deserving the attention and admiration of all, for such a phenomenon demands to be known by more people in Malta, and eventually by the Catholic Church at large. The account is quite intriguing, at times very moving, and always indicative of the depth with which the Maltese Church has preserved Our Lord’s message to the early Maltese and how subsequent generations sought to spread the good news to all else, literally to all parts of the planet. Father Caruana is providing another example of Introduction
  17. 17. 19 how such a tiny nation has given so much to the rest of the world.As already stated, the Maltese bond between faith and life has been, and will hopefully go on being, a document of Christian conviction as well as a commitment towards the construction of a better world.  Dr Oliver Friggieri A Hearty Thank You! A hearty Thank You! My first words of thanks go to all the Missionaries and religious congregations who collaborated in the writing of the book by their various and excellent contributions as the reader will surely realise. One may also gauge the generosity of their contribution by the fact that I had to select samples from as many as 2,400 photos sent by missionaries the world over. Thanks also to the producers of Vuċi Missjunarja, Dr Frank Cassar and Helen Sammut, who run the weekly programme on Radju Marija. They should be credited not only for letting me use any material which I found useful, but also because several missionaries referred me to their programme if more information was required. Vuċi Missjunarja has become a very helpful link between the Maltese population and the Missionaries. Thanks also to The Emigrants Commission who through Fr. Vella, the Director, helped me to establish contact with priests, religious and laity working with the emigrants. Thanks also to my colleague and special friend, Prof Thomas Bonnici of Maringá, Brazil, formerly of Żebbug, Malta, himself an author of several books, for discussing with me for hours on end. He was instrumental in my decisions on how best to go about it. Hearty thanks also go to my friend Dr Oliver Friggieri, who had the patience to read the text and forwarded a relevant critique on the project. Thanks to Fr Miguel Pace of Apucarana, Brazil, and Fr John Sammut of Mosta who, as loyal school mates gave me their first impressions, helpful criticism and words of encouragement when I started putting pen to paper. A special thanks goes to Michelle Caruana of Hamrun who as a great sympathizer of the Mission Cause designed the book cover. Thanks goes to my friend Edwin Parascandolo who with his technical help gave me the first impression how the book would and could look like. Also I would like to mention the help my special friend Flavio Batisti always gives me when I come to discuss articles of any sort. He really understands me and helps me interpret my thoughts. The same happened in writing this book.! A special thanks too to Fr.Raphael Demartino and his sister Maria Demartino who gave me their support and word of encouragement when at times things were getting difficult. Like wise a special thanks for Fr Joe Borg who with his extensive experience in the field of the media gave me all the explanations that I needed. My thanks go also to Major Ray Miller.for his meticulous proof reading. And last but not least the Cathedral Chapter and the Aps Bank for their financial support. Thanks are also due to H.L., Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo who, following a brief conversation on the good works of my companions, was inspired to ask me if I would accept the challenge and introduced the idea to H.G. Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta. The latter promptly accepted the idea and through Mgr Anton Gouder, I was introduced to Mgr Salvinu Micallef, National Director of the PMS in Malta who accepted to finance the publishing of the book. And lastly my thanks go to Mr Vincent Cachia of Balzan, former Head Master of The Lyceum, who, as a dedicated Legionary, accepted to accompany me in writing the book. The two of us accepted this task as being part of our vocation. He not only helped me in my writing - which I definitely needed - but, more important still, his help proved decisive in our fortnightly, Introduction
  18. 18. 20 two-hour meetings, during which we discussed the various contributions coming from practically all over the globe, trying to keep to the point and avoiding unnecessary digressions. I consider him the “ghost author” of this book.   About Fr John Caruana Fr John Caruana, 73, born in Mosta, Malta, on June 3rd 1941, was ordained priest in Malta on March 11th 1967. He always felt that the missionary vocation was a great gift of God, but had to wait for seventeen whole years to fulfil his missionary calling. He joined his old friends who preceded him in the Dioceses of Maringá, Apucarana and Londrina, in the northern region of the state of Parana, Brazil. While still in Malta, Fr John served as Vocation Director for a couple of years, then moved to St Julian’s Parish for thirteen years, working as vice Parish Priest. He was later appointed Administrative Secretary of the Archbishop’s Seminary when it moved to Tal-Virtù. During this period he involved himself in the Council of Vice-Parish Priests where he formed part of the Kunsill Rappreżentattiv Djoċesan (KRD). He was appointed Chairman of a special Commission to establish a just salary scheme for diocesan priests. He also served as President of the Christus Rex Society and on the editorial board of the monthly publication Pastor. He was also co- founder of the weekly page, formerly known as Catholic Outlook, in “The Sunday Times of Malta”. He left for Brazil on September 7th 1984 and was soon appointed to serve the people as Parish Priest of the Nossa Senhora das Graças Parish in Sarandi, which at that time had a population of about 40,000 people (which has now grown to 85,000). Fr John dedicated himself to the pastoral of church base communities which were being planted at that time, and totally backed the social movements working in favour of land reform and trade unions. He was most fond of the working class. He worked for two years in Guajará-mirim in Rondonia, within the Amazon region, in a Parish twinned with his Diocese in Maringá. After spending two and a half years in Malta working on this book, in 2013 he returned to his original parish Nossa Senhora das Graças in Sarandi PR Brazil as vice-parish priest. Introduction
  19. 19. 21Africa
  20. 20. 22 Part One NORTH AFRICA Chapter 1 ____________ ALGERIA 1.1 Augustinian Friars (OSA) The presence of theAugustinian Friars inAlgeria is a clear sign of faith for the Church and for their founder Saint Augustine, that Christ is felt in the Islamic world. The Church shows solidarity towards the Algerian population in a tangible way. With its presence, Saint Augustine is living not only in history but even in the spirit of community. The community of Hippo, included until recently two Maltese priests: Fr Pierre Desira and Fr Raphael Abdilla. They live as witnesses of Christ and of the Augustinian charisma. The threat of terrorism still exists in this country. However the situation in Algeria is improving. The citizens cannot accept the dictatorship of fundamentalists anymore. Or to be closed in a religious and cultural ghetto. The perception on Algeria has changed, and it is no longer considered as a dangerous country, as confirmed by the commissions and delegations that regularly visit Algeria. In order to have more economic cooperation, Algeria has to invest on international level to be
  21. 21. 23 centre to distribute milk for babies, and people to serve as sacristans. He offered a building and assured financial help. In 1943 during an air raid over Algiers, the convent sustained a direct hit and collapsed on the nuns. Fortunately the children were in the shelter with the religious. Fifteen nuns lost their life under the rubble. The whole central part of the building was a total loss, yet the Blessed Sacrament was found intact in the sacred vessels. Eleven nuns remained to carry on and continue the work. Several years had to pass before a new group of nuns could dare to offer a fraternal witness to this tormented country. Sr Rosaria Agius of Żebbuġ. Mila is a welcoming village in the mountains region, West Constantine, the then Diocese of St Augustine. In Mila Sr Rosaria was with three other French FMM nuns, in an old building, that once served as barracks to the French Army. Excavations revealed that these barracks were built over a mosque that was in turn built over a Byzantine Church and this over a Roman temple.Among the ruins a huge statue of a goddess was found dating back from the Roman period. At the time the New Algerian Government was concentrating its energy in what was termed as The Triple Revolution: Industrial, Agricultural and Cultural. The authorities were trying to empower the people to give their share and encouraged them to send their children young and old to school. The students were given money if they attended lessons. So the Education Authorities were looking for more teachers. Sr Rosaria applied for the job and was accepted to teach English in the Lyceum for boys and girls of Mila. The classes were crowded, averaging 45 to 50 students in each class. This meant hard work and it was very demanding but for Sr Rosaria it was a unique experience. She was the only Christian on the staff and was respected by both staff and students, especially when it was learned she was not doing it for money. The students became her friends. They confided their stories to Sr Rosaria and she listened attentively and advised. Most of able to face unemployment, infrastructure and agriculture. Foreign representatives recognised the needs of Algeria and positive outcomes have arisen and entrepreneurs are ready to invest. The call for the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to Algeria came from Bishop Leynaud who knew the FMM in Carthage and desired to have the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa. The first group of FMM arrived in Algiers in 1920. The nuns looked not only to the needs of the Basilica but also of the little orphan girls. Algeria Chapter 1.2 ____________ FRANCISCAN MISSIONARIES OF MARY (FMM) Muslims liked to pray to the Mother of Jesus and to watch the motionless adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1924 there were about fifty orphans, both Europeans and Africans. The younger ones went to school. The older girls were trained in the workroom. The success of both groups attracted girls from the outskirts. The second foundation was in Souk-Ahras in 1934, where the Parish Priest requested to have a dispensary, a workroom, a
  22. 22. 24 the students came from very poor families. But she was loved and was often invited to their ‘homes’ to share their meagre meal. Sr Yvonne Gera of Birkirkara, was sent because of health problems from Senegal toAlgeria as she did not wish to return to Europe but stay on the Missions. Her main work in Algiers was as a secretary in the Curia with Cardinal Leon Etienne Duval and later with Mgr Henri Teissier, a humble Bishop indeed. In Algeria she had worked in the four dioceses. As part of her work Sr Yvonne prepared the catechumens. The nuns had good contacts with the women of the village as one of them had a workroom for Female Formation. Women used to seek the nuns’ advice, and were often sent by their own husbands for counselling. The hospitality of the Algerians was fantastic. They shared everything with the nuns. During Ramadan they invited them for their evening meals. The nuns learnt a lot from this sharing as even the poorest families gave of what they had. In 1988, when trouble started, the solidarity of the population never lacked. The terrorists were only a handful of people. The Church lost 19 members, male and female religious, but it was not a religious war. Sr Yvonne herself knew personally all the 19 who were killed. More than 300,000 Algerians were killed. None of the religious was forced to remain in Algeria. The Algerians themselves often advised them to leave the country but the nuns used to tell them that a captain would never abandon the ship while it was sinking. Sr Yvonne left Algeria in 2002 when the situation calmed down but she was having health problems and it was wise for her to return home. Sr Moira Zarb of Żabbar, joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in October 1964 when she was already 27 years old. She has been in Algeria since 1982. She helped the women sewing and knitting. The nuns were of four nationalities, French, Japanese, Italian and herself, Sr Moira. She was called to found a fraternity in the west to take care of the children. With the other nuns she worked for eleven years in Tiaret, but they then had to leave because of the situation. She relocated to Chechar for eleven years, and was then sent to Tebessa. There she taught French and English, helped the women in sewing and visited the old people teaching them macramé. Recently she was asked to go for five months to another community in the South to help the nuns over there.   Africa
  23. 23. 25 2.1 Introduction Early Maltese Presence in Egypt In Il-Franġiskani Maltin, Fr George Aquilina OFM, says that it is a fact that the Mediterranean people, notwithstanding their different beliefs, mixed amongst themselves very easily and built a friendly relationship. The Maltese sailed and did business. Egypt was no exception. The Egyptians looked for our ports. For her commerce, Malta depended on big cities such as Cairo, Alexandria, Constantinople and others which provided huge markets. Among other ‘merchandise’ the slave trade was very common. Godfrey Wettinger writes: ‘The undertaking of the Emperor of Morocco to ransom the Muslim slaves of Malta throws a curious sidelight on the eighteenth century, the Age of Enlightenment. However, it is unlikely that there was any connection with such a peculiar European climate of opinion flaunting rights of liberty based on Rights of Man.’Napoleon ended this trade in 1798, but not quite. The buying and selling of children especially between Egypt and Europe lasted till 1887 (there exists an excellent study on this by T. Todaro, 2008). The first contact with Egypt was then one of commerce, with the families of those involved in this commerce and of those who fell victim to slavery. It was the friars who bothered to redeem the slaves. In Alexandria in 1628 we come across Michael Albino from Rabat, Malta, who most probably took care of the slaves. It was not rare that the Maltese who were taken as slaves became Muslims to return to Christianity later. Everything shows that since the end of the seventeenth century the presence of the Maltese friars in Egypt was continuous, including sons of Maltese who emigrated to Egypt. There on the 26th May 1693 Michelangelo Chircop died whilst assisting victims of the plague. In 1697 mention is made of Antonin from Rabat who used to buy medicines for the sick and, acting Egypt as a doctor, distributed them to the Christians. He too fell victim of the plague in 1718. Fr Anthony Fenech settled in Egypt after his ordination. Arriving in Cairo, he travelled to el Minya to practice his Arabic. His first assignment was eventually at el Minya where he stayed for three years, working mostly with adolescents and youths. After working for two years in the Jesuits’ High School - Collège de la Sainte-Famille - he asked to go to Armant, a big village in the Luxor Governorate in Upper Egypt. There he spent eight years, involving himself in social work. When the time for a change arrived, he was sent to el Minya, with the expressed intention to take care of the Social Centre which the Jesuits ran in the slum area of Gad-el-Sid. There they offered a wide variety of social, educational, recreational and religious activities. This Centre amongst the poor of Gad- el-Sid was the result of the Jesuits’decision that any expansion of their work would be in favour of the poor, respecting the Church’s own proposal since Vatican II. The Social Centre tries to cover the needs of the community which normally are not covered by the civil authorities. Many people in that area are on or below the poverty line - some are in actual misery. They met many benefactors from Cairo and el Minya itself. A number of volunteers gave their time and energy during the summer months. In a learned and extensive interview in Catholic View, Fr Anthony Fenech S.J. discusses three issues in particular, which help one better understand the Egyptian people Chapter 2 ____________ EGYPT Chapter 2.2 ____________ THE JESUITS (SJ)

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