Brother Anton Probst, Claretian brother, known to all as Mbuta, the elder brother

Saturday, 20 March 2004

German born Brother Anton CMF (Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), was a very active missionary. He lived and worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo for 23 years, from 1968 to 1991. He was an able mechanic, carpenter, plumber and he left valuable notes on the local rainfall and general climatic conditions.
A local CMF Father Kihunga Nzungu Zénon tells us that to be a better missionary Brother Anton wanted to learn all about the local people and he often took part in their traditional rites and customs. “Like the local people he used to wear a bracelet made of copper bearing his name Gamudondu meaning, little tree, head of the family, head of the village. Brother Anton was a missionary with the charisma of St Anthony Claret; he crossed hills and valleys and plains to learn about the people. He was always ready to serve, always available. He was simple and humble like the Blessed Virgin Mary. He always tried to instil the joy of the religious life in his young confreres who referred to him with affection as Mbuta big brother, leader, adviser. He loved Africa he worked for Africa, and he died for Africa. We ask him to intercede that God will call many new vocations totally dedicated to Christ and to the universal Church.”
Claretian novices, who first met Brother Anton at the Akono Novitiate, in 2003 in Cameroon, have this to say about the German born missionary Brother: “Brother Anton was no an easy person to describe. All the Claretian students at Akono or people who come into contact with the Claretians heard about Mtuba but who could understand his personality? It was difficult! We were impressed first of all by his calm and prudence which was amazing. Brother Anton was a tireless worker, sometimes he even worked through rest periods during the day. Every day he set about doing the same tasks with new enthusiasm, passion, diligence and care. When he had something to say to us novices he would never start until all of us were present, he would even go and call those who were absent. His talks were never speculative they were practical pedagogical and it would not be exaggerated to say that he was a walking encyclopaedia: we have lost a wise man, his death leaves us with deep grief and a great emptiness”. (Agenzia Fides 20/3/2004 - Righe 34; Parole 506)