To help students become more deeply aware of the specificity of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa by studying some of its key foundational texts not only in their own right, but also in light of a more general theology of charism and in comparison with other forms of consecrated life. The comparative and theological aspects of the course will help M. Afr. students to situate their own Society within the wider life of the Church, leading them to a greater appreciation of both their own and others’ gift and calling.
1. The Theology of Charism in general: meaning in the NT and later theological development; the theological notion of ‘Founder’, and of ‘charism of the Founder’; Lavigerie as ‘Founder’. 2. A historical survey of major Founders and a typology of different ‘kinds’ of foundation, from earliest times through to today; the different Missionary Congregations founded in the 19th and 20th Centuries as a sub-category within this typology – the specificity of each and the influence of the context in which they were founded; the distinction between Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life; situating the Society of the Missionaries of Africa within this general typology / framework, and bringing out its identity by comparing it with other similar or dissimilar institutes. 3. Foundational texts and events at the beginning of the Society: the provisional Constitutions of 1869 and the more definitive Constitutions of 1872; the first three novice masters, the early controversy over vows and the option for ‘mission-centredness’; subsequent editions of the Constitutions during the Founder’s lifetime, especially those of 1878, with its resolution of the controversy over accepting St Anne’s in Jerusalem; the Directory of 1881; the ‘spirit’ of the Society, and its ‘spirituality’; the name(s) of the Society and their implications; the Founder for today, and tomorrow.
Will be given at the time of the course.