Dutch and American Spiritans came to Ethiopia in 1972 as a response to their call as a congregation of missionaries. Ethiopia had many separate tribes that had not yet been evangelized or heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Irish Spiritan team chose an area in the southwest inhabited by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Taking an ecumenical approach, they worked with the local Coptic clergy and people. Part of their work included optimizing clergy formation and a joint Catholic-Orthodox first evangelization program. Community development continues there to the present day.
Spiritans have worked ecumenically with the local Coptic clergy and people. Part of their work included developing the local clergy to accompany a joint Catholic Orthodox first evangelization program in South Omo, chiefly among the Hamar people. With a registered work permit for community development, Spiritans continue that work to the present day.
The Borana Oromao, Ethiopia
Independently, the Dutch-American team work among the nomadic Borana, herders of cattle and goats in arid southern borderlands of Ethiopia. The missionaries found that those people had almost no knowledge of Christianity. The Spiritans had to first gain the confidence and respect of the people before presenting them with the news of Jesus Christ. The Borana are slowly accepting Christianity through the Roman Catholic Church.
In Borana country, the Spiritans opted to evangelize through education to help these people who have lived on the fringes of Ethiopian society for generations. We now operate three grade schools as well as two hostels where students live.