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Fraternity, Martyrdom and Peace in Burundi

The Forty Servants of God of Buta

March 24, 2022

During Burundi's 1993-2005 civil war, students at Buta Minor Seminary were ordered at gunpoint to separate by ethnicity—"Hutus over here, Tutsis over there!" They chose instead to join hands and affirm their common identity as children of God. The 40 students killed were quickly proclaimed martyrs of fraternity. Their costly solidarity defused the cry for reprisals and continues to inspire Burundians and others on the path of reconciliation.

Jodi Mikalachki

Drawing on 50 interviews with survivors, parents of martyrs, neighbors, religious leaders and other Burundian intellectuals, Jodi Mikalachki, associate professor of English at the University of Burundi and a visiting fellow at DePaul University’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, examines how Burundian Catholics understand the significance of the Buta martyrdom to their country and the world.

Read her article in the Journal of Global Catholicism.