André Seumois OMI

Sometime during the night of September 11, 2000 the Lord came for General House Dean Fr André SEUMOIS. He was born April 29, 1917 in Belgium at Flémalle-Grandein the Diocese of Liege. Having entered the novitiate at the age of 17 he pronounced his first vows on September 8, 1935, the beginning of 65 years of religious life.

Archbishop Marcello ZAGO presided at the funeral mass on Thursday September 14th with more than fifty concelebrants and the participation of many members of the five General House communities.

Fr Seumois was ordained December 22, 1940 and ministered as a preacher in Belgium until the end of the war in 1945. He was then sent to Rome for further studies in theology, obtaining a doctorate in missiology in 1948. He was asked to go to the University of Ottawa in Canada where he taught missiology for three years at the newly founded Institute of Missionary Sciences. Superior General Léo Deschâtelets called him back to Rome in 1952. He was appointed visiting professor for the course on introduction to missiology at the Scientific Missionary Institute of the Propaganda Fide Athenaeum and the following year he was put in charge of the program.

In 1959 Pope John XXIII appointed him consultant to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples - a post he held for thirty years. The next year he was appointed a member of the committee for mission for the preparation of Vatican II and served as a peritus during the Council.

In 1969 Fr Seumois became professor of missiology at the Urban University Rome where he taught until he retired in 1987. From 1974 to 1977 he was Dean of the faculty of missiology and a member of the senate of the university. A prolific writer he published more than 150 articles and conferences and several books among which his five volume work Teologia Missionaria is widely known.

From Oblate Communications 394, Oct 2000

Publications include

1948. Vers une définition de l'activité missionnaire, Schriftenreihe der Neuen Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft ; 5. Schöneck/Beckenried: Administration de la Nouvelle Revue de science missionaire. 

1952. Introduction á la missiologie, Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft. 3 Supplementa ;. Schoneck-Beckenried: Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft.

1951. La papaute et les missions au cours des six premiers siecles : methodologie antique et orientations modernes. Paris: Eglise vivante.

1961. "The Evolution of Mission Theology among Roman Catholics," in Gerald H. Anderson, ed. The Theology of the Christian Mission New York: McGraw-Hill, : pp. 122-134.

1970. Oecuménisme missionnaire, Urbaniana : Nova series ; 4. Roma: Ed. Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana.

1973. Theologie missionnaire, Subsidia missiologica ; 1. Rome: Bureau de Presse O.M.I.

1981-1983. Théologie missionnaire, Rome, Urbaniana University Press, Rome,  5 vol.

References to the work of André Seumois include

James B. Anderson,  1988, A Vatican II pneumatology of the Paschal mystery. Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

Kwame Bediako, 1992, Theology and identity: the impact of culture upon Christian thought in the second century and in modern Africa, Regnum Books, Oxford.

J. J. Ferguson, 1983, Salvation and the mission of the Church. A comparative study of the writings of André Seumois and Walbert Bühlmann. Thesis (S.T.D.), Catholic University of America.

Félicien Mwanama Galumbulula, 1996, Le dynamisme missionnaire de l'Eglise locale dans la missiologie postconciliaire de J Masson et A Seumois. Une contribution à l'éveil missionaire, Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

Laurent Ramambason, 1999, Missiology: its subject-matter and method, Peter Lang,  p.57

His Introduction á la missiologie . . . is relatively neglected or unknown by English speaking Protestant missiologists, but it is of the utmost importance for anyone who wants to trace the development of missiology as a discipline. . . . It offers a clear illustration of the link between knowledge and human interests. . . . it would be fair to note Seumois' scientific humility and openness, apparent in his charter for missiology [Introduction á la missiologie, p.394].

Philip Knights, 2005, "Catholic Evangelisation: an overview", CASE, April  (http://www.margaretbeaufort.cam.ac.uk/research/knights.pdf )

Catholic missiology in the pre-conciliar period was largely divided into two schools with different emphases upon what made for ‘mission’. The Münster school (Josef Schmidlin) gave greatest weight to the proclamation of the Gospel, the conversion of people and the salvation of souls – conversio animarum; the Louvain school (Pierre Charles, André Seumois) put its emphasis on the implanting of the Church – plantatio ecclesiae14 The former was primarily personal and framed in terms of God’s salvific will, relationship to Christ and the Kingdom of God; the latter was primarily ecclesial, cultural, territorial and canonical.

14 Karl Müller ‘Joseph Schmidlin, 1876-1944: Pioneer of Catholic Missiology’ in Gerald H. Anderson, Robert T. Coote, Norman A. Horner and James M. Philips eds Mission Legacies: Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement (Orbis, Maryknoll, 1994) p402ff, Joseph Masson SJ, ‘Pierre Charles 1883-1954: Advocate of Acculturation’ in Anderson et al p410ff, Bevans and Schroeder p244ff. Karl Miffier SVD ‘Missiology an introduction' in Sebastian Karotemprel Following Christ in Mission: A Foundational Course in Missiology (Pautines Publications, Africa, Nairobi, 1995) p29.

Quotation

La missiologie se caractérise en tout premier lieu par l'étendue de l'objet qu'elle considère, par l'universalité de son champ visuel. . . . L'étude missiologique ouvre l'esprit à l'universalisme géographique, ethnique et religieux; elle n'est limitée à aucune forme culturelle particulière, mais elle embrasse du même regard sympathique et profond la culture humaine. Introduction à la missiologie, p.394.

John Roxborogh

Index of Short Biographies