On this day nine years ago, three Assumptionists were kidnapped from Notre-Dame des Pauvres parish Mbau, 22 km from Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. We share with you this letter from our Superior General on the five year anniversary of their kidnapping:
“Dear brothers, sisters, and friends,
It has already been five years since our brothers, Jean-Pierre, Edmond and Anselme, were kidnapped by armed soldiers…I am writing this letter with the sole purpose of keeping our hope alive. Christians cannot resign themselves to a state where they allow silence and death to prevail. Our God is a God of life.
I reiterate my friendship with the religious of the Province of Africa and more particularly with the Assumptionists, the Oblates and Orants of the Assumption, and all those in the consecrated life in the diocese of Butembo-Beni. Still today you remain subject to violence and abuse. … I pray as well for the people of North Kivu who regularly endure acts of violence and abuse at the hands of armed factions who criss-cross the region. We Assumptionists stand side by side with this population on whom such evil is exacting a tremendous toll.
I encourage all of you to redouble your efforts for peace and reconciliation. Of course, prayer must be of the highest priority. But it is also necessary to work for unity as our recent 33rd general chapter called for. We are “men of communion in a divided world”…Our small family, present in more than thirty countries, must inform public opinion of this cause of peace in the Congo and get the word out to the media of the enduring hardships of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who have suffered for too long.
I pray that Our Lady of the Assumption make of us all artisans of peace and unity.”