Lodwar, Kenya is itself a “crossroad” town in the Turkana Desert of northern Kenya. The Xaverian Brothers have been ministering in the Diocese of Lodwar for over 40 years. The Brothers were among the first missionaries to begin working in this remote, isolated and extremely hot desert region in 1974. For years, many Brothers taught at St. Kevin’s School. Now, however, Brothers Louis Calmel, Michael Foley and Simon Wasike are engaged in ministry with the young men at St. James Minor Seminary, a residential program for young men considering a vocation to priesthood and religious life, while carrying out other ministries for the Diocese of Lodwar. Brother Louis works in the finance office, Brother Mike, after spending years in South Sudan, serves as accountant and bursar in addition to some teaching, and Brother Simon works in the Development Office of the Diocese as well as at Mary’s Meals, a food program for primary school children.
James Laughlin, President, Friends of Turkana; Willomena Esekon, Director of the Diocesan ‘Livelihoods Programme’; Sandra Villegas, Resource Mobilization Manager for the Diocese; Brother Louis; Noreen McKee, Friends of Turkana; and Bishop Dominic Kimengich, Bishop of Lodwar
The young men at St. James have been going out each day to attend classes at one of the local secondary schools, St. Kevin’s or Lodwar High School; however, in terms of their formation and discernment of their vocation, this has been less than ideal. Bishop Dominic Kimengich had a different vision for St. James and shared this vision rst with Brother Louis who has had over 20 years experience working with the Turkana people. Bishop Dominic’s vision was the creation of a new campus where the young men enrolled could both attend classes and receive the formation and leadership training that the Brothers have been providing the past 5 years.
Bishop Domenic shared this vision with Friends of Turkana, a Brooklyn based non-profit that has been working to make a positive difference in Turkana by encouraging self-sufficiency in water, health and education. Friends of Turkana were excited to partner with the Diocese and the Xaverian Brothers on this project and worked with us to apply for a grant to the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Foundation. A 3-year grant totaling $750,000 was awarded last year and construction began in earnest last November. Brother Louis provides some onsite supervision of the construction, while the Friends of Turkana provide additional monitoring. A model of collaboration to serve the needs of evangelization at the “graced crossroad” in the heart of the Turkana Desert.