Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Martyrs of Kongolo

In the town of Kongolo, in the Democratic Congo, anti-Catholic rebels killed 20 Belgian missionaries from the order of the Holy Spirit. The priests established their monastery since 1909. There lived the priests, old men, children, patients, 40 Sisters and 56 seminarians.

On Sunday, December 31 1961, therebels attacked the town of Kongolo, with anti-Catholic sentiments. The rebels spread terror in different parts of the country. The rebels are planning to kill the “mercenaries,” which are the priests. The priests were accused of breaking the confessional seal, participating in the battle in Lukika, and many more false accusations. Immediately, the soldiers attacked the mission, where a white flag was raised.

The priests had their shoes, glasses and watches removed from them. They were beaten and loaded to the truck. The other nuns and seminarians were also abducted. Meanwhile, the soldiers plundered the seminary and the mission house.

The missionaries were brought to the military camp. There, they suffered maltreatment, beatings and insults. Then, a mock trial began. The soldiers demanded for the death of the missionaries.

The atrocities began. In the eyes of the nuns and seminarians, the priests were laid on the ground, had their cassocks raised and were whipped with whips made of thin stripes of hippopotamus skin. Then, the priests were called by name, sentencing them to death.

That night, the nuns were brought back to the convent. It is not sure if the soldiers made an attempt to their purity, but the nuns were heard screaming. The priests and seminarians were placed in cells. The missionaries prepared themselves for martyrdom.

The next day, January 1 1962, the seminarians were brought to the military camp in Lualaba. The priests were brought to the river and were mutilated. The seminarians were beaten, but no one was killed among them. They were forced to throw the bodies of the priests to the river.

Every year, the Kongolo Diocese celebrates their martyrdom with a mass and ordination of priests, making the memory of the martyrs alive.


Blogger Unknown said...

I know a (living) son & 2 (living) daughters of one of the victims of this incident, a Belgium national merchant, who was killed amongst the priests. The post doesn't mention of this person but other sources have. The subject was deployed to Congo in 1916. The son & daughters have tried & are still trying endlessly to find their Belgian ties with no or little progress. Can the editor write to me for further details?... Who knows… you may wipe some tears away…

2:29 AM  

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