The Marie-Catherine Center is an umbrella organization that covers the social activities undertaken by Father Albert Shuyaka with the help of his many friends. It is named after Albert’s aunt, Franciscan Sister Marie-Catherine Wandjowo. “She didn’t want to have the Center named after her,” Father Albert wrote, “but it was a way to acknowledge how much of herself she has invested in the work she is doing.”
The Center’s initial project was to provide clothes once a year to women who cannot afford them. Father Albert took up a collection for women’s clothing three times when he was in the USA.
Then the center took on an additional project, the purchase of water containers. In the Congo, people have to walk to a river or to a well to draw water for families. They carry the water back in a container. “Several times when I was a boy,” wrote Father Albert, “I broke people’s containers by accident and my mother would have to pay for a new jerry-can.” After returning from the USA, he saw the shortage of jerry-cans with his own eyes and has used the Center’s money to purchase new ones.
More recently the Marie-Catherine Center has turned to health care. It now enables the sick (who otherwise could not afford it) to see a doctor. “There is no medical insurance here,” Father Albert wrote, “and now the Center supports women who give birth and assists the leper hospital in Dikungu.”