Extract from an article published in the book of the fiftieth anniversary of AIM "So far yet so near"


Benedictine Union Tanzania

Dionys Lindenmaier, osb

From the example of the BECOSA in South Africa, the 10 Benedictine monasteries of Tanzania have formed the union called BUT on 7 December 2005. Father Mark Butlin was the initiator and a steady companion during the different meetings and workshops of BUT.

About the beginning reports a letter of Sr Pia Portmann, OSB. dated 10 August, 2005:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and St. Benedict,

Greetings from Peramiho! Abbot Lambert Doerr has invited us to Peramiho for the Benedictine Workshop conducted by Fr Mark Butlin OSB, Ampleforth and AIM that was held from 25-31 July 2005. At the end of the workshop all the superiors or their representatives met for a short meeting in order to look ahead on our common journey as Benedictine Family in Tanzania.

I quote from this meeting from 31 July 2005: The members agreed together that they would like to have something similar like what Fr Mark called the “AMA”, the Angolan Monasticism Alliance.

The superiors agreed unanimously to form their own Tanzanian Bendictine Union. We were advised to find a name for the union in Kiswaheli. The name proposed was UWABETA, meaning Umoja wa Wabenediktini wa Tanzania. It was not confirmed as name, but it was given as homework to each one to think about it. After this meeting a (executive) commitee met. They planned the agenda for the coming meeting in December.

The first step: The name and new leaders: Workshop and meeting from 6-8 December, 2005 in Peramiho. During this meeting on 7 December, 2005 we learned of another name of this unity from South Africa called: BECOSA – Benedictine Communities of Southern Africa. From them we also got the Statutes. Then we discussed again and felt that this unity would be of great importance for us in Tanzania. Therefore we agreed all together and decided to start with this Union. We are 10 Benedictine Communities in Tanzania: Ndanda Abbey, Peramiho Abbey, Hanga Abbey, and Mvima Abbey; Convent of Chipole, Convent of Ndanda-Tutzing, Convent of Peramiho, Convent of Imiliwaha, Convent of Ndanda, and Wakaladolensi Sisters of Mafinga. We now elected the first leaders, and afterwards got our name. From now on we were called BUT (Benedictine Union of Tanzania).

Further steps: Draft of statutes of BUT: Workshop and meeting from 2-3 November, 2006 at Peramiho. On 3rd of November we discussed the draft of our Statutes. We used the example of the Statutes of South Africa: BECOSA. We left parts of it to be discussed until the next meeting in 2007.

Next step: Working on our Statutes of BUT: Workshop and meeting from 6 - 9 November, 2007. We discussed in short our Statutes. Then we asked Sr Redemista, OSB, from Chipole, a canonist, to write again our Statutes and to send it to the different communities. The Statutes of BUT still on the way: Workshop and meeting at Ndanda from 3 to 7 November, 2009.

The Statutes of BUT are ready and proofed: Workshop and meeting at Peramiho Abbey from 11 to 13 November, 2010. During this meeting, on 13 November, we finally agreed to our BUT Statutes.