Letter of Brother Spiridion Ndanga

Dear Brother Provincial,

The Marist District of Rwanda is living in a state of shock following the events at Bugobe on 31st October 1996. In fact, Brother Provincial, how can one understand that a charity which waives all boundaries and limitations can be met with such limitless hatred?

Our four valiant Brothers have witnessed to a boundless and immeasurable charity in devoting themselves, without counting the cost, to the cause of the Rwandan refugees who are neither Spanish, nor white, nor European. They have broken through all the bafflers erected by men, they have listened to the cry of the poor, they have given themselves in solidarity. Would it not have been enough for them to have devoted themselves to Spanish youth ? But their hearts, as large as the world itself, hastened to the aid of those who would otherwise have found no answer to their cries of distress; these poor people who know nothing of politics but who are the victims of politicians driven only by their own self-interest.

These Brothers have given true meaning to humanitarian action, action which does not recoil before any sacrifice, be it even the risk of death. They have given proof of a great sense of mission: “In situations where religion is persecuted or society is in crisis, we remain in the country, if at all possible, through a sense of fidelity to our mission” (Const. 80). They have died martyrs, imitating Christ totally in this act of supreme charity.

What was done to our Brothers surpasses all understanding. They were neither Rwandan nor “Banyamulenge”, nor opposition. They had no political motivation. Why kill anyone who is not fighting against you? The violence of which they were the victims is unjust and senseless. It knows no boundaries because it is an attack on life itself. May the blood of our Brothers obtain the conversion and pardon of their executioners, may it obtain peace in the world at large and in the region of the Great Lakes in particular. May their example inspire us to make a total gift of our own lives!…