The community of African Benedictines of Hanga was founded in 1957 in the South-Eastern part of Tanzania. It is the first Benedictine community of Africa which draws its members exclusively from local vocations. From the very beginning the Hanga monks asked themselves which kind of mission is entrusted to them in Tanzania? Or more concrete: in which way their social, cultural and political situation enters into their monastic life? An important discovery was the fact that missionary vocation can’t be dissociated from monastic life. On the contrary: monasticism which is deeply rooted and “incarnated” in the local culture can immensely contribute in spreading the light of the Gospel.
In January 1980, the Missionary Benedictines of Tutzing started a new foundation at Nairobi, Kenya. Over the years, it experienced astonishing growth, not only outwardly but also in the internal establishing of the community, and regarding its engagement in the different missionary areas. Additional missionaries who joined us from Germany, the Philippines and South Korea, contributed to the internationality of the community. The many young women who joined in came from different African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola and Nigeria. This historical glance back is a first attempt to describe the deeply rooted evolution of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing in Kenya.
Coat of arms are little artworks which communicate the identity of a monastery or the program of an abbot. This collection unites the coat of arms of the Missionary Benedictines of St Ottilien. It is a documentation of communal and personal history, but also of the convictions, devotions and hopes of a worldwide family and its missionary efforts to spread the Word of God.
The common way of presenting history is to tell of achievements, expansion, foundations, and important events, also difficult situations, failures, and closures. This book is different. It tells history through the lives of 125 Missionary Benedictine Sisters—human and fallible, strong and weak, “called and seized by the love of Christ.” They have shaped 125 years of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters (1885–2010) by bearing fruits from roots of faithfulness.
When Abbot Bishop Gallus Steiger died in 1966 this marked the end of an entire missionary epoch. The late Abbot Bishop had made an extraordinarily great contribution during the time of primary evangelisation, in particular in southern Tanzania. In this way he had effectively prepared the way for the establishment of local churches in the area first evangelised by him and his fellow Benedictine missionaries. His long life had on all accounts been a rich life and a good life in the service of God and of the Church.
The return of 42 Missionary Benedictine monks and sisters to Germany who were missing for years in Communist North Korea became a media sensation in 1954. Their stories about the last years of the missionary Abbey of Tokwon, their dealings with Japanese, Russian and North Korean occupation forces and the time of imprisonment in the Communist labor camp of Oksadok provide a fascinating image of Christian courage in times of distress.
The need for change after the Second World War culminated in the Second Vatican Council. Old pagan traditions were now to be understood as African Traditional Religion, liturgy was given a new shape, catechetical teaching had to be rethought. The local Church should be given into the hands of the local hierarchy as soon as possible, thus bringing the traditional ways of mission to an end. Within the Congregation of St. Ottilien, a genuine rethinking of life within the monastic communities took place. The juridical status of the lay bothers had to be redefined as did the task of missionaries all over the world. It was certainly a heavy burden Abbot-Bishop Victor Haelg had to shoulder until the new diocese of Mtwara was born under the leadership of the first African bishop, Maurus Libaba.