Auguste Simon Léon Livinhac was a superior general of the Missionaries of Africa (or White Fathers [WF]). Born in Ginals, Sévérac, Aveyron, France, he left the major seminary of the diocese of Rodez to join the WF recently established by Charles Allemand Lavigerie, archbishop of Algeria. Ordained a priest in 1873, he dedicated himself to the African mission in 1874. In 1878 he was chosen to head the first group of ten missionaries going to Equatorial Africa. They left North Africa on Easter Day, April 21, 1878, and arrived in Uganda on February 17, 1879. Studying Ruganda, he composed a grammar and a dictionary. Ordained a bishop in 1884, he returned as apostolic vicar to Uganda in 1885 at the height of religious persecutions there. Several of the Ugandan Catholic martyrs killed in 1886 had been baptized by him. With a group of Ugandans, he attended the International Antislavery Conference in Paris (1890). The same year he was appointed vicar general of the WF, and after Lavigerie’s death in 1892, he was chosen to be superior general. His poor health and his continuous reappointments as superior general (1894-1912) never allowed him to return to Uganda. When he resigned as superior general in 1920, he organized the documentation that would lead to the beatification of the martyrs of Uganda. During his term of office the three equatorial vicariates in Africa grew into nine equatorial vicariates, two Sudanese ones, and two apostolic prefectures. The WF grew from 233 to 930 members. It established itself in Germany (1894), Argentina (1898), Canada (1901), Belgium (1902), Switzerland (1911), Great Britain (1912), and the Netherlands (1917).
J. G. Donders, M Afr
G. D. Kittler, The White Fathers (1957); Pères Blancs, Notices Nécrologiques, supplément no. 17 (1923), pp. 21-36.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.