News from Madagascar
We are among the Religious Congregations that are working in the field of education in Madagascar. We have four nursery and primary schools, three high schools, three higher secondary schools, one professional training school, one training center in carpentry section and an institute for advanced studies. Recently, two of our newly started schools have been approved by the Education Ministry of Madagascar. The school at Anjomakely will be starting higher secondary classes for the next academic year and the primary school at Tamatave will be upgraded to High School. Our institute for advanced studies, at Mahajanga, has obtained the approval of the Education Ministry and we have around 200 students who are specialized in International Commerce, Accountancy, Financial matters and Marketing. Immediately after their courses (3 or 5 years) most of our students are employed in banks, in societies and in various industries.
Our vocation as religious and our catholic faith is tested in Madagascar due to some violence against the consecrated persons and priests in the recent times. A few weeks back, a religious community at Antsirabe was attacked by the robbers and the Sisters and Aspirants were raped. A few days back, a Capuchin Father was shot and killed and a Novice was injured. In another religious community, the tabernacle was stolen. Many other communities are targeted either for money or materials. The Bishop’s Conference and the Conference of Religious men and women in Madagascar have openly condemned the acts and have asked the government to take severe actions. In the open letter written in April, they said: “We firmly ask the government that the culprits should be brought to justice and punished. It’s only after the judiciary processes rightly done that the forgiveness can take place”. We continue to pray for our country so that justice and peace reign and “our Madagascar becomes a joyful and peaceful place to live!”
We are well supported in our projects as well as in our mission by various associations and by men and women of good will. Here, I would like to underline specially: The Province of France, Saint-Gabriel Solidarity in France and in Spain, some associations like “Coeur du Monde”, “AIDER”, and “Sourires Partagés”. We are grateful to all these associations, but for their help we would not have proper infrastructures in our Institutions and we wish that this collaboration continues in the years to come so that our students can study and work in a better condition.
Around thirty of our juniors and candidates along with some Junior Brothers and me had undergone a camp during the Holy Week at Anjomakely. We had in our program: prayer, meditation, recollection, manual work and games. It was also the time for Juniors and Brothers to live together and get to know each other. The Juniors are looking forward to the next meeting which will be held in the month of August.
Bro. Jean Benjamin Raherinantenaina from Madagascar is presently at Yercaud, India, participating in sessions for the preparation for final vows. We thank Bro.Paulose Mekkunnel who has kindly accepted our request and Bro.Mariannan, the Provincial Superior of Trichy, who accepted to meet all the expenses of our Bro. Benjamin. We wish him all the best that he comes back to his home land with full of vigor and enthusiasm to continue his mission. He will be returning to Madagascar on the 23rd May. Our two Novices, at Thiès, Senegal, are keeping well and they seem to enjoy and appreciate the life in an International group. Four of our postulants, from Antsirabe, are well disposed to join Thiès next October.
We are eagerly looking forward to the visit of Rev. Bro. John Kallarackal, our Superior General, in our District from 21st May to 4th June. We extend him a very warm welcome and we assure him of our fraternal prayers.
Bro. John Britto.