Ouagadougou (Fides Service)- The situation of consecrated life in west Africa was the theme for reflection during the 2nd Meeting of the Mater Christi consortium formed by religious congregations in the region for the formation of religious men and women. The meeting was held 17 - 21 February at the Mater Christi Centre in the village of Samagan, only 8 km from Bobo-Dioulasso, in Burkina Faso. Mater Christi Centre was opened on 2 February 2002 and it serves 56 congregations of women and congregations of men 12. During the 12 years before the centre was built the Consortium offered formation to more than 3,000 religious.
Some sixty participants came to the meeting from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Togo. A special guest was Archbishop Mario Zenari, Papal Nuncio to Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, Archbishop T. Santon, Archbishop of Bobo-Dioulasso, and Reverend Pascal Bouda, Secretary General of the Bishops Conference of Burkina-Faso-Niger, representing the Conference president Bishop Philippe Ouédraogo, President.
Archbishop Zenari stressed the importance of formation centres founded by a number of different congregation because this faciliates “a deeper experience of ecclesial communion in the variety of vocations and charisma and ways of serving in the Church’s mission”.
The meeting was an opportunity to identify ways in which Mater Christi can fulfil its specific vocation in the Church, according to another participants Sister Finita Martinez Canova, president of Mater Christi Consortium. “The vocation of Mater Christi is to collaborate with the formation of consecrated life in west Africa particularly by forming formation staff and religious as witnesses who speak by being and acting”.
Father Sidbe Sempore suggested that Mater Christi should produce a bulletin “to keep former students informed of the Centre’s activities and to collect their news and suggestions. The bulletin would help build the Mater Christi family”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/2/2004, righe32, parole 348)