Slain Religious Worked in Madagascar 51 Years

Civil Unrest Ended Life of U.S.-Born Missionary

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FIANARANTOA, Madagascar, APRIL 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A bullet fired amid a civil uprising last week ended a half-century of work by a U.S.-born missionary.



Sacred Heart Brother Joseph Roger Morin, 75, was killed last Friday. He died in his room at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Novitiate by gunfire during unrest triggered by disputes over last December´s presidential election.

A number of shots were fired into the house, which is a prominent religious symbol, said Brother Justin Rakotondrasoa, provincial. Religious groups, both Protestant and Catholic, have been petitioning for a fair and peaceful solution to the political crisis in this island nation of 15.9 million people.

Joseph Morin was born in Springvale, Maine. An earlier ZENIT story incorrectly said he was a native of Quebec.

Brother Bernard Couvillion, superior general of the congregation, said in a statement that the slain religious had been the director of postulants at the novitiate.

Morin made his religious profession in the Arthabaska Province of the congregation in Canada, in 1944. He had been a missionary in Madagascar for 51 years, serving as teacher, school principal, diocesan director of Catholic education, and formation director.

"His loss," said Brother Bernard, "will be felt by his former students, his former colleagues in Catholic education by and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Madagascar not only because of the functions he filled so admirably and competently, but because of his dedication to the Malgache people, his contagious good humor, and his dedication to the Church and to the consecrated life."