27 NOV, 2013. The new postulancy in Dassa Zoumé, Republic of Benin, has received its first four postulants.
In August of this year the Sisters of St Louis relocated their postulancy from Zonkwa in Nigeria to Dassa Zoumé (often shortened to Dassa) in the Republic of Benin. Their reason for leaving Zonkwa was due to the uncertainties surrounding threats from the Islamist Boko Haram regime in the region and concerns for the postulants’ safety.
There were a number of factors involved in choosing Benin for the new postulancy. The site was purchased a few years ago by the Nigeria province, more than a decade after the Bishop invited the Sisters of St Louis to Benin. It was initially meant to be a nursery and primary school, and soon after the site was acquired, construction work started on a Convent. However, the idea of a primary school was eventually shelved because the land is perennially waterlogged, which would make access to the area difficult for students and parents. It was also thought beneficial to explore new cultures and people in seeking aspirants to come into vocation in the Nigeria province. The Dassa location made geographical and cultural sense in relation to this, but more importantly, siting a Postulate in Dassa would effectively embed the French roots of the Sisters of St Louis in our Sisters from the beginning of their vocational training, given that Benin is a former French colony.
For more information, check out Issue 25 of Musings.