Society Of African Missions (SMA)
The Society of African Missions is an international community of Catholic missionaries who serve the people of Africa and people of African origin around the world. The initials "SMA" stand for the name in Latin; Societas Missionum ad Afros.
SMA was founded in Lyons (France) by Bishop Melchior de Marion Brésillac in 1856. The Society celebrated 150 years of missionary activity in 2006.
Bishop de Brésillac was a French missionary who had a strong desire to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to Africa - especially to "the most abandoned peoples of Africa."
He and five others went to Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1859 but all succumbed to a yellow fever epidemic. Within six weeks of their arrival in Africa de Brésillac and four of this companions died.
As he died on 25th June 1859, de Brésillac's last words were "Faith, Hope, Charity" and these became the motto of the Society.
Despite such extreme hardships and challenges in Africa the work and vision of the Founder continued and flourished over the next 150 years.
The SMA today has about 1000 members coming from Africa, Europe, America and Asia. They work in 51 dioceses in Africa as well as in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. In their home countries, SMA members promote the missionary dimension of the church through a variety of apostolic activities including work for African immigrants.
The international administrative headquarters of the SMA is in Rome. (See www.smaroma.org)
The Irish Province of the SMA has five Houses - two in Cork, one in Dublin, Claregalway and Dromantine in Co. Down. (See www.sma.ie)
This Province has 220 members. Its members continue missionary work in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Egypt, Philippines, as well as in Europe, North America and Australia.