Opening of the Fr. Louis Blondel Centre Diepsloot, South Africa

Diepsloot Centre Opening 2013-10-18 064Last week was a particularly bad week for the Diepsloot community, a sprawling township of tin shacks and hunger on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Two toddlers aged three and two had been found murdered and raped and the community was rightly enraged. This was the Missionary of Africa parish where Fr. Louis Blondel was brutally murdered some four years ago, by a group of teenage tugs.  At that time Louis had a vision of building a Community Centre with the particular intention of taking care of the very youth who murdered him.
The violent scenes in Diepsloot were offset by celebrations in another part of the township where a life was celebrated and love and hope enkindled. This Centre is a gift from the Blondel family to the youth of Diepsloot and will make them realise they are not alone in their poverty, there are those who care and those that want them to have a better chance in life. The Archbishop of Pretoria William Slattery asked the community to accept the gift there were been given in memory of Louis, and said they should care for it as it was their centre. He assured the community that Louis’s spirit would always be there with them, watching over them and encouraging their efforts towards a better life.
His sister Francoise and her husband Alphonse had travelled from France to be there for the opening. His sister described the opening as emotional but also a happy one because it kept his legacy alive. She said the realisSeán_O'Learyation of this dream could be the first step towards reconciliation. She went onto say “we are not angry and there is no vengeance in our hearts, and this could lead to full forgiveness”.
With Louis’s sudden death and the remaining confreres Guy Bourgeois suffering a stroke six months later, the Missionaries of Africa were forced to hand over the parish to the Archdiocese. The Centre now remains a fitting legacy to a wonderful man and our short presence in Diepsloot.
Seán O’Leary M.Afr

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Michel MeunierSee also one article written by Michel Meunier, M.Afr for MISSION MONTH (one for the Archdiocesan newspaper (ADnews) and two for the weekly national newspaper (The Southern Cross).
From a Mission Church to a Missionary Church
From yoyo to hula hoop
 See also the following link:

Father Louis Blondel Centre


2 thoughts on “Opening of the Fr. Louis Blondel Centre Diepsloot, South Africa

  1. Jan De Groef

    Thank you very much for the short report about the opening of Luis Blondel Centre. It was indeed a remarkable event showing that love and forgiveness win over hatred and vengeance opening the door for a new beginning.

  2. Pingback: A Time to Forgive – South Africa | Missionaries of Africa – SAP Province

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