Dakar’s Book Club Focused On Under The Banner Of Heaven

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One of the first “social” things I did after moving to Dakar was join a book club – and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. Great monthly meetings, decent book choices, always an interesting discussion. Tonight’s meeting centered on Under the Banner of Heaven, an interesting read about two “God-directed” murders committed in the 1980s and a partial history of Mormonism. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking nonfiction work, I’d recommend it.

Since matters of faith were the focus of my evening, I thought I’d post a photo of  the Catholic church on Goree Island. The church was built in 1830 and is named after St. Charles Borromeo. About 30 percent of Goree’s residents are Catholic – a much higher percentage than the rest of Senegal, which is about 95 percent Muslim.

An eye-rolling piece of history: Catholic missionaries visited Goree Island frequently in the 19th century, to participate in the slave trade. (Ah, organized religion…I’ll refrain saying more on that topic.) In 1992, Pope Jean Paul II visited Goree Island and this church to publicly apologize for the Catholic church’s role in slavery.

Mass is held at this church every Sunday and most of the building is original, save for the interior roof.

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