Dom Peter Eghwrudjakpor, OSB
Prior of Ewu Ishan (Nigeria)
Benedictine and Cistercian Association of Nigeria
BECAN Monastic Institute (BMI)
After many years of preparation and planning we have finally launched the programme of studies and training for monks and nuns from the various monasteries in Nigeria.
Classes began in August of 2018. We spent 4 weeks for the first year (2018) which might be regarded as an experimental year. Then, the second year (2019), we spent 8 weeks, and by God's grace, we hope to spend 10 weeks for this final year (2020) of this set of students. Thus, this first set will stay together for three periods in three years.
Worthy of note: after due consultation with a Catholic University here in Nigeria (Madonna University), which has accepted our application for affiliation, it was decided that the next academic programme for the next sets of students will run for two years instead of three as we are doing presently. The university will also issue to qualified students a validly recognised certificate. Thus, each year the students will spend two months of studies and examinations, then return to their various communities to resume the following year for the final modules to make it four months in all.
This two-year program will commence by 2021 with the next set of students, that is, after the passing out of this present set of students finishing in October of this year.
The courses are:
1. Introduction to the use of English Grammar.
2. Monastic Spirituality
3. Introduction to Scripture
4. Monastic Fathers
5. Spirituality of he Rule of Saint Benedict
6. Monastic History
7. Fathers of The Church
8. Introduction to Philosophy
10. Church History
11. Sacred Liturgy
12. Methodology on Research and Writing Papers
13. Church Doctrine/Church Dogma
14. Canon Law for Religious
15. The Vows
16. Human Sexuality
18. Moral Theology
20. African Monasticism
22. Palestine Monasticism
23. Introduction to Logic
24. African Philosophy
25. Introduction to Epistemology
27. Syrian and Byzantine Monasticism
28. Consecrated Life
29. Introduction to Computer
30. Human Development
In this first set we started with 24 students who came from all 17 BECAN monasteries, 14 lecturers and 3 non- teaching staff, all monks and nuns from the Nigerian monasteries.
The Programme is very good and well organized. We have a five-member organizing team. Three are always with the students when the programme is running, and two representatives from the BECAN monastic superiors who laise between the Institute and the BECAN superiors, and who oversee the programme from the point of view of the BECAN superiors.
Our hope is to eventually open this programme to monks and nuns from other monastic communities from other regions of Africa who can communicate in the English language. This will also guarantee continuity of the programme in the longer term.
At the moment each monastery contributes a certain amount of money per student, alongside food items and other gift items to cover feeding and welfare of all the participants - students and staff. Here BECAN communities show their first-class generosity. At the end, there is usually no lack.
No payment is made for the teachers except for the transport fare to the BMI area.
It is worthy of note here that the AIM USA has made a wonderful donation of three boxes of books which have just recently arrived. This is one way the AIM could assist the programme. We are gradually building up a library for this programme so more book- donations will be welcome.