Training of Young Carmelite Friars Sponsored in Madagascar
It wasn’t until 1921, after past attempts spanning 300 years, that the order founded by St. Teresa of Avila was finally able to put down roots in Africa. Initially, it was the discalced Carmelite nuns who first set up a convent. In 1921, a group of Carmelite Sisters from Belgium arrived in Betafo in Madagascar. The first foundation established by their male confreres was not until 1956, in what was then Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Today the Carmelite Sisters can be found in more than 20 countries of Africa, with over 400 Sisters in 36 convents, and there are also 65 male Carmelite houses with more than 400 Brothers. Additionally, there are numerous young vocations, still undergoing training.
Not only was Madagascar the first country in which the female branch of the Carmelites was established; it was also the third country in which the male branch of the Carmelites established a monastery. The brothers have been established here since 1969 and they include 56 priests today, 48 of whom are native Madagascans, or Malagasy. They also have numerous vocations.
It is there that 40 young men are undergoing formation at the present time. In fact, there are many more young men who would gladly join the Carmelites, but they simply cannot all be accepted, since the order cannot afford to support them and provide for their formation. Consequently, and with a heavy heart, they have been forced to restrict the number of new entrants to 40.
This past year, thanks to the generous support of our benefactors, we were able to contribute $10,500 towards the cost of training these 40 young brothers. Speaking on their behalf, their Father Superior wishes to thank everyone who has helped them. May God reward you all!
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