St. Theresa of Lisieux Priory
Katibunga Monastery, founded in 1987, is a religious Benedictine Missionary community, the offshoot of the African Benedictines of Hanga Abbey in Tanzania. It is situated about 85 kilometers from Mpika town in Zambia.
Apart from engagement with the Benedictine motto of "Prayer and work," the community has been very aware of and responsive to the real needs of the people who live near the monastery.
- The monastery has built the new Church for both the parishioners and the monks.
- It has renovated and extended the classrooms of Katibunga Basic School.
- It has built two houses for teachers, and the process of building other housing for teachers is proceeding slowly according to the funds made available by our benefactors.
- At the end of the rainy season each year, the monastery maintains the 25 km road which goes to the tarmac road into Mpika town.
- It provides transport for the people by minibus to Mpika town once a week.
- It has a water mill machine, which helps the people of Katibunga and other villages near Katibunga to grind their maize and millet, the staple food.
The community is totally dedicated in agriculture for itself as well as for the people in our remote area:
- Forest: The monastery has planted about one hectare of soft wood trees.
- It has planted a very large area of banana trees for use by the community. The surplus is sold at affordable prices.
- It has just started preparing another portion of land for the cultivation of oranges, lemons, and tangerines.
- Garden: The community has a garden in which it grows different kinds of vegetables, such as cabbage, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
- Fish pond: It has three fish ponds.
- Animal husbandry: It keeps cattle, sheep and goats.
- Poultry: It also maintains a chicken coop that now houses more than 300 chickens.
The manure created by the above animals (nos. 5 & 6) is being used to the orchard and garden. This greatly increases the fertility of the soil.
By focusing on agricultural activities, the community has effected change among the people. Most of the people have started imitating the monks by engaging in agriculture: on a smaller scale, they keep poultry as well as goats and sheep, they grow maize in large quantities and also produce millet, sunflowers, and beans. Beside providing nourishment for families, the agricultural products in surplus can be sold by the people.
Katibunga Monastery is looked upon as a centre of agricultural learning. The community teaches the people by its own commitment to agriculture.
Katibunga Village, being in a very remote area of Mpika town, relies heavily on the monastery for some of its basic, urgent needs. The monastery does much to improve the life of the people by; for example,
- Maintaining the Health Centre.
- Providing hydro-electric power for the following:
- Health Centre.
- Katibunga Basic School.
- Teachers' houses.
- Individual houses.
- The monastery.
We agree with the English saying: "Rome was not built in a day." Katibunga of yesterday is different from that of today, also it is different from what it will be tomorrow, provided that the people themselves are willing to improve their life by regular spiritual, material, and financial assistance with support from our helping organisations.
Prepared February 2008 by Fr. Francis Shawa OSB (monk of Katibunga Monastery).