February 15 – IN THE DIOCESE OF TAMATAVE
IN THE DIOCESE OF TAMATAVE
For 70 years the French Brothers in Madagascar had carried out educational work mostly in the northern part of the island (Diego-Suarez) and on the north-eastern coast (Nossi-Be and Majunga). The year 1972 marked a turriing-point: faithful to their mission, the Brothers continued their educational work but in .other ways, through development work and social work. They did so in a new geographical area: the eastern coast of the country. Why there rather than elsewhere? It was a question of implementing· Montfortian collaboration promoted by the last two General Chapters; this involved working together on the ground. This kind of mutual help had been initiated in Papua New Guinea in 1968. Then it started also in the diocese of Tamatave which had been put in the charge of the Montfortian priests after they arrived in Madagascar in 1933.
The Gabrielite pioneer of this new form of mission arrived in Tamatave on 15 February 1972. He was followed by others at fairly regular intervals. All of them worked alongside Montfortian priests and Daughters of Wisdom in various centres:
-the rural centres ofBetsizaraina (1972-1975) and Tamboro (1975-1984) on the coast south of Tamatave;
– the craft centre of Tamatave since 1976;
– the agricultural and home economics vocational centre of Antsiramandroso since 1979;
– the sailors’ home ofTamatave since 1984.
In September 1983 a community was established to the north of Tamatave in the small town of Fenerive, where two Brothers had worked from 1903 to 1911, then again from 1912 to 1916. Two Brothers taught at the lower secondary school there for seven years. Others started a house of formation: postulate and novitiate. The novitiate closed in 1994. After trying inconclusively to merge with·the one in Brazzaville, it was establishedin 1996 in the capital Tananarive in the Regional house opened in 1993. The postulate closed in its turn in 1998 and moved to Fandriana in the highlands, 300 km south of Tananarive; its location is near the lower secondary school of E.S.C.O.F. which the Brothers took over from the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.