prof. Irmgard Johanna César-Göhring (biography)

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Irmgard Johanna César-Göhring (1922-2011)

Irmgard Johanna Cesar-Goehring, (1922-2011)
, a magnificent and socially engaged personality in the third World and in Russia passed away on the 1st of April 2011 and left us for ever. We feel seriously obliged to remember her and to follow into her footsteps. Professor Dr. Irmgard Goehring was a chemist and decided in her young years to serve the African youth with her knowledge, ignoring completely a possibility to make a career in the chemical industry; she went to live in the Belgian Congo of that time. TEACHER’S TRAINING Centre de Coordination pour la Formation Permanente des Enseignants (see: ) She developed and spread her pedagogical abilities throughout the whole African continent working as a lecturer of the “Louvanium” University. Her motto was “Education is the key to country progress and human promotion”. She founded educational centers in the towns of the whole province, held seminars, and felt among young Africans like a mother hen who gathered her chicks under her wings. At the same time she managed to socialize with the most distinguished circles of the local high society in Kinshasa, the capital, as a worldly-wise lady and took advantage of her social relations by getting her friends involved for her pedagogical purposes. Even the disastrous fall of the country in political and economic respects, which was caused by the exploitation on the part of the dictator Desire Mobuto Sese Seko waza Mbanga and his more than corrupt government did not manage to scare Madame Goehring away- she continued to assist the people of the so-called cites to benefit from education thanks to her good relations. It went so far that she financed with her own money the construction of schools, on condition the local population participated in the investment and shared the property at least partially. I met her for the first time at one of the seminars she was holding in Kenge, and then again in Kikwit. It was, one could say, a love at the first sight; later on we had never lost sight of each other for over 30 years. I can especially recall the common meeting in Kinshasa, at which she was highly honored by Mrs. Dr. Hildegard Hamm-Bruecher for her merits in Congo, in the presence of the gathered audience. LIGHT FOR AFRICA- THROUGH SOLAR LAMPS In the year 2008, 10 years after I had left Africa, Mrs. Dr. Irmgard Goehring revived my love for Africa one more time. The project “SOLUX” lamps was again initiated in Congo; in the 90ties we had started the production of the lamps SOLUX LED 100 in an assembly plant, meanwhile it died down, however. It was our goal to equip the urban and rural areas which had no access to electric power, with cheap, yet very good quality solar lamps of the simple make Solux LED 50. They were very much needed in places like hospitals, health centers, schools and households, which up till that time used petroleum lamps, polluting the environment. My Congolese confreres and Divine Word Missionaries representing more than a dozen various nationalities work in that area and know the needs of the people. That small project, which had originally started with that small group of confreres, has now been given a new impulse for the benefit of the African people. Not without a considerable help of Mrs. Professor Dr. Irmgard-Johanna Cesar-Goehring were we able to develop that project in a great style and continue it. According to the information of the firm SOLUX e.V., the Mission Procure in St. Augustin was in the lead of the buyers of SOLUX LED 50 lamps, with the purchase of lamps for over 20.000 euros. Besides, we delivered 200 lamps to both the Health Society Kongo e.V. and “Kinshasa Symphony” musicians for their merits in helping the people to get light where here was no current available; thanks to the lamps, the educational process could continue. MARY’S VISITATION FUND Thanks to our fruitful cooperation and friendship in Congo, Mrs. Irmgard Goehring felt tempted to get to know our work in Saint Petersburg, Russia, as well. In the beginning she paid me a non-obliging visit while touring on a cruise voyage on the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg, later that year (2009) however, as Fr. Richard Stark was granted a high German state award (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1st class), we met again. Then she made up her mind to prepare the financial ground for establishing a fund Mary’s Visitation, thanks to which we can now cover the current costs of the church’s renovation. The church building with the church grounds is protected by the law as a historical monument. It was built by the famous tsarist architect Nikolas Benois in 1859. On the former cemetery rest the remains of 40.000 Catholics, a number rather unusual for Russia. Richard Stark Mary’s Visitation Parish Priest

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