A mission for development
The mission of the Brothers in Saint-Anne Province is organised in various sectors of activities: Formation for Brother candidates; Education in primary, middle and secondary Schools; professional and technical Centres, social Centres, Catechist Schools, Reception Centres, production Centres, medical Centre, Women’s care Centre and other activities at the explicit request of the local Church.
Through them, it expresses the African face of the charism of the Institute. Among the Brothers’ collaborators, the strong presence of followers of other religions (Protestants and Muslims) who found in the Brothers’ works spaces for expressing their desires and places for earning a living, is noteworthy. The presence of lay people is notable and growing, although there is still a long way to go in their charismatic formation. Another important contribution is the presence of 17 Brothers of the Province who carry out their mission out of their country. A “mission in going out”, as the Church asks of us.
The formation House
The formation House is located at Sâaba. It houses the different stages of basic formation: Juniorate, Postulancy, Novitiate, Scholasticate. The strengths of this House are the coherence of the organisation of the different stages, the presence of a large number of Brothers trained for the stages of Postulancy, Novitiate and Scholasticate, the influx of many young people for the Juniorate, etc. The weak points are the lack of perseverance, the amount of tuition fees which is prohibitive for many families, the fact that some candidates are looking for a good framework for their studies, the growing de-Christianisation of society…
This activity is by far, the one which occupies the largest number of Brothers. The mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ through Education, through the Educational Project of the Congregation. The education offered responds to the family spirit that characterises us. In some Schools, there are many Muslim pupils. The Province owns three primary schools. The strong demand for schooling, State scholarships for some pupils and the number of Brothers trained as teachers are assets for a good development. There are nine secondary Schools, including one in Benin. This stage is today the fundamental action. Being an important network of Schools with excellent academic results, the good university training of the Brothers and the presence of dynamic Parents’ Associations are the strong points. However, they are in a precarious financial situation: because,the income is based only on the expenses paid by the families in which poverty is increasing, and because of the delay of the State scholarships for some pupils. This barely covers the running costs and small amounts for investment. The small number of Brothers involved in pastoral activities, especially in catechesis, and the still low involvement of some lay people in the Educational Project, are the weak points that threaten the excellent development of the educational mission of the Brothers.
Technical and Professional Education
In Fada N’Gourma, there is a Technical School which is a diocesan one, and at Nanoro, there is another Technical one. For a long time, the State did not show any particular interest in this type of education. So much so that, the Technical Schools run by the Brothers were often the only ones of this type. The Province has therefore benefited from its experience in this field. There is now a growing appreciation of Technical Education, an education that is highly valued to meet the needs of the labour market. But still the number of private industrial or agricultural technical institutions is very limited because of the investment costs.
Formation of Catechists and pastoral workers
At Imasgo, Gyalghin and Namoungou the Brothers run 3 diocesan Schools for Catechists. Most of the students are married couples, with their children if they have any, to be formed as Catechists for 4 years. Today, some single lay people are also admitted. The aspiring catechist must have done at least one year of voluntary work in his parish. The children receive classes. Parents receive catechetical formation for 4 years. This past year, 52 couples completed their formation. At the end of their formation, they are sent to live among people as leaders and animators of local Christian communities. To enable them to earn a living at the sending-off ceremony, they are usually given: 1 donkey, 1 cart, 1 plough, 1 bicycle and the sum of 100.000 F.cfa, an equivalent of 152.45 Euro for the family’s basic needs. At Sâaba, the Brothers also work in a teacher training College. Both activities are directly linked to our charism.
Social Centres: with the less favoured
We have three Centres the purpose of which is to take in children/young people who do not attend school or who dropped out of school. Sometimes, they are street children. The aim is to give them an education, to form them for a better social integration. They are offered a second chance for their life. These Centres are in great demand by many families because of the education and professional training they offer. Through them, Saint-Anne Province is bringing many young people out of delinquency and poverty. They are located at Laafi Zîiga, Goundi and Roulu. They cater for 123 children and young people. The financial difficulties are severe, because parents are unable to contribute adequately. Without the contribution of the State and the help of the CAM, it will be difficult to take care of them. We also have a “Women’s Centre” at Nanoro. They are offered training: literacy, skills for family welfare, etc. It is named after the help of Maria and Valeria Pedersoli, sisters of Bro. Oscar Pedersoli.
There are notoriously insufficient public facilities to welcome people who move for work, study or other reasons. For this reason, the Province has a number of works destined to this mission of facilitating their accommodation. “Falongar” is dedicated to group meetings. The Silvestre Pia Home at Laafi Ziiga has the mission to enable young university girls students to study. At Nanoro, there is a Boarding School for boys and a shelter for individuals and groups. The Missionary Reception Centre “Madonna di Loreto” in Ouagadougou, in addition to welcoming missionary groups, is intended for visitors arriving in the country or for meetings of Burkina Faso Associations. From some of them, in normal times, the Province receives financial support to enable it to attend to its numerous social works. Some of the Centres mentioned above have been built with the invaluable help of Villa Brea Missionary Centre (CAM).
This is a Confessional Health Structure created to alleviate the suffering of the underprivileged population of the municipality of Sâaba, which has a large itinerant population. Its strength is due to the sustained support of the Missionary Group of Our Lady of Loreto Province and its location in a rural area with a high concentration of population. This recently established Centre faces many challenges, mainly, a lack of infrastructure that limits the services offered despite the high demand for care. It is named after Agnese Bonardi, a sister of Bro. Giacomo, who financed it .
Holy Family Workshop
This Workshop has a commercial orientation but is intended to produce elements necessary in society: a metal welding workshop for the production of Volanta pumps (for drawing water), desks and elevated water tanks; the printing press and the “Robusta” unit for drilling wells. At the same time, it is intended to be a place of apprenticeship in various metal and woodworking trades for young people who dropped out of school. Nowadays, it is the financial lung of the Province. It puts various products on the market and provides various services. Its products enjoy a good reputation.
Parish activity. At the service of the Church
At Ouahigouya Cathedral, and in the Sanctuary of Ars the Brothers exercise their apostolate in parish assistance. They carry out activities such as the care of the sacristy, parish Pastoral care or the accompaniment of families. In the Sanctuary of Ars, they continue the work that the Holy Curé entrusted to the Brothers since 1849.
The Episcopal Conference and the Union of Major Superiors entrusted us with several missions:
- Director of the Teacher Training College for the formation of Catholic Primary teachers.
- Assistant Secretary of the National Secretariat for Catholic Education.
- One Brother in Ouagadougou, is in charge of the Management and the Accounting of the University of the Episcopal Conference.
- Another one in Bobo-Dioulasso, is in charge of the “Mater Christi” Centre for the formation of Religious in West Africa.