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How Catholics brought women’s equality to a Cameroon clan


A region of Cameroon that traditionally believed women to have no value now sees them as equal to men, thanks to a lay Catholic apostolate in the area.

“Before the coming of the Focolare Movement, the women had no say, but the movement has taught us a lot of things,” said Nicasius Nguazong, who is the Fon – similar to a king – of the Cameroonian chiefdom of Nwangong.

Fon Nicasius and about 40 other pilgrims, including other heads of northwest Cameroonian clans, travelled to Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement first coming to the Bangwa people.

They attended the Pope’s Wednesday General Audience, and several met with Pope Francis Sept. 21.

Mafue Christina Fontem – whose role is similar to a queen – testified at a press conference afterward that her father, after meeting the founder of the Focolare Movement, a woman named Chiara Lubich, carried out a campaign for the higher education of women.

“And because of that,” she said, “you will find that those of us who are here, his daughters, went to school, and you also have among us a granddaughter who is here from Germany.”

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