Who is Mapeera?

Fr. Lourdel Pierre (also known as Mapeera)


Today, we share with you a very important personality in the history of our faith and the history and lives of the Uganda Martyrs, he taught them their virtue and faith that they even accepted to sacrifice their lives for;

During his short life here in Uganda, Fr. Lourdel came to be known as “Mwaana wa mbuga” meaning the son of the court. Fr. Simeon Lourdel was born in Dury, France on the 20th December 1853.

His stanch Catholic background and dream to become a missionary saw him join the junior seminary where he received his first common on May 25th, 1865 and later continued to the minor seminary. After extending his vacation to help his father on the farm because of the absence of his elder brother, the young Simeon was demised, something that shocked but at the same time was a life lesson to him.

When he finished his studies at the college of St. Ormer and Montreuil, he was accepted to the major seminary and after the two years of philosophy joined the white father noviciate in Algiers. He received his habit ( the cassock of the Missionaries of Africa) of the society on March 22nd, 1874 and took his missionary oath on the 2nd February 1875 and was ordained a priest on 2nd April 1877 after studying theology.

On being offered to be one of the first missionaries to come to equatorial Africa, Fr Lourdel accepted with enthusiasm but just like the other missionaries were not spared from the hardships of equatorial Africa like fever, hostility and hush climate. Despite all the dangers, his apostolic zeal could not stop him from taking dangerous risks like the risky venture of going ahead of the other missionaries to seek permission from Kabaka Mutesa to evangelize his kingdom.

He was more frequently called to the palace than any other missionary by both kabakas Muteesa and Mwanga for medicine, advice and even sometimes to hear about Catholicism which earned him the name “the son of the court”
Both kings loved him so much that Muteesa in one of the audience to see which religion is true said “Mapera ya’anatusomese” meaning Mapera will teach us. “Mapeera” a name he got when the Baganda had heard brother Amans address him in French as “mon pere” (father)

He gave himself wholesomely to his calling to serve, when the Catholic missionaries withdraw from Buganda after three years because of insecurity, he went ahead to build an orphanage as far as Tabora, then later chosen for a new foundation in the Ukune region of Tanganyika and opened a new mission at Nyegezi on their 1888 expulsion from Buganda.

On their return, on the 12th may 1890, the whole of Buganda was stunned by the news. “Mapera is dead” just a few days after being struck by fever. By 8th May, his condition had worsened and On the 11th May, told his confreres (missionaries) that he had prepared himself for death during the night, feeling that his time was near, they celebrated mass in his hut and received holy communion.

On Monday morning, 12th May, Mapeera was in a cold sweat; “am going to die today” he said, and once again he generously offered his life in sacrifice for the salvation of souls. From 10.00 o’clock onwards he did not speak at all and his confreres joined in the prayer for the dead.

Mwanga had sent words that he wanted to come and see the dying priest and the fathers told him to hurry if he wanted to see him alive, it was 1:10 pm when Mwanga arrived just as Fr. Lourdel was breathing his last. The unfortunate king was so dumbfounded that he could not utter one word; the two had grown into very good friends from their past meetings and experiences.


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