Sister Anne-Marie

Obituary – Maulana Salim Qasimi
Althaf Ahmed
Prof. Mumtaz Ali Khan

In Burkina Faso, a Catholic Sister’s efforts to promote
Christian-Muslim harmony.

Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, is in turmoil. For many years, the country was known for the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims, who have been practising a tolerant form of Islam. In recent years, however, jihadist extremism, exported by neighboring Mali and encouraged by radicalized local preachers, has changed the situation dramatically. It is against this backdrop of terror and hatred that Sister Anne-Marie Kabore of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic order, practices her music ministry. For her, song is a powerful tool to bring about peace and reconciliation. A pharmacist by training, Sister Anne-Marie, based in the capital of Ouagadougou, regularly travels throughout the country to bring a musical message of hope, particularly to young people. She is accompanied by six nuns who are back-up singers and a number of musicians, including both Christians and Muslims. Sister Anne-Marie who is pursuing a specialization in bio-pharmacology at the University of Ouagadougou has three albums to her name. Her albums are available on YouTube and have had hundreds of thousands of views. One recent composition Ra le yab ye carries a message of encouragement for women who have become outcasts in society, for example because they are childless or because they have been accused of witchcraft.
Sister Anne-Marie whose order teaches in schools and is active in healthcare is outspoken in addressing the terrorist attacks and the people’s feeling of insecurity. “The Church is called to accompany the people,” she says, and “to work for the reconciliation of the sons of the country,” even in the face of growing danger. In a forthcoming song, says the Sister, “I cry out to God, that He may grant us peace, stability and reconciliation of hearts.” She adds that the new song stresses “the need to remain united,” while the lyrics also emphasize the “necessity of training priests and nuns, so that they can be the leaders of a population capable of creating a climate of peace and so ensure that Burkina Faso can reconnect with its history of peace and tolerance.”