Burkina Faso

St. Joseph’s has been supporting the great works of the Bernadine Cistercians since 2009.

Burkina Faso is a small African country (more details about it can be found here), and the Bernadine’s are building a Church there. Their foundation in Burkina Faso was a desire by the African sisters to spread the Bernardine ‘charism’ to another area of Africa. After visiting different countries, the Order decided to respond to the invitation of Mgr Jean Baptiste Somé who wished to have a monastic foundation in his diocese of Diébougou in Burkina Faso. They have been there since 2002 and the foundation continues to grow. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Approximately 60 percent of the population practice Islam, 24 percent of the population maintains traditional indigenous beliefs, 17 percent practices Roman Catholicism, and 3 percent are members of various Protestant denominations.

As part of St Joseph’s centenary celebration, the parish decided to help ‘build’ another community, church, and wondered how they could achieve this. Fr. Harry, the parish priest at the time, suggested contacting the Bernardines as his previous parish had supported the Bernardines in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A group was set up to raise awareness and funds for this new church in Burkina. Sr. Josephine Mary, who is the present superior of the Bernardines at Hyning, went to speak to the parish during Lent 2009 and spoke of her experiences there.

Over £13,000 was raised in the short space of a month through a variety of activities. This was sent directly to our sisters there to help them build a new monastery and eventually hopefully, a church as well. This has gone towards the new building, the guest areas and the new monastery.

In July 2011, a group of cyclists decided to undertake a 200 mile ride to raise funds for a new church community. The journey took them through the lake district and ended up at Hyning about 4pm the nest day in bright sunshine in time for a cup of tea and homemade cake. The brave cyclists were Greg Ormerod, John Shields, Dave Carleton, Andy Cross and Rob Hotchkiss.

In May 2012, Peter Kelly walked the West Highland Way, a 100 mile trek which begins in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow and ends at Fort William in the Highlands to raise money. Peter raised  the wonderful sum of £2,987.30 through sponsorship. Added to other donations of £1,045.20 (including donations in memory of Teresa Charles) we reached a total of £4,032.50 in 2012. A cheque was handed over to the Bernadine Sisters at a Social evening on Saturday 20th October 2012, where we heard of the plans to consecrate the new church in Burkina Faso during 2013. As a parish in 2012, we had now raised a grand total of £30,215.15 for Burkina Faso since the project was launched in our centenary year.

In 2013, the Church build was completed. You can see pictures below.  Locally in St Joseph’s the Burkina Faso Parish Outreach Centenary Project presented a cheque for just over £5,000 to the Bernardine Sisters at a a successful Hot Pot Supper and Social evening in the Hall on 14 September. The funds raised in this year will help to furnish the new church in Burkina Faso.  Over £35,000 has been raised by the parish since 2009 to support the Bernardines with their new mission in Burkina.