A Roman Catholic Priest in Africa
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Abba Francois Markos
Abba François had 3 siblings, Alemu, Desta and Tereza. Alemu died in 1923, the same year his father died from ‘tessebo’ (Typhus disease). His sister, Desta became a Roman Catholic Nun and acquired the name Sister Maria Markos. Sister Maria died in her youth, after serving as a nun. Tereza Markos got married to Ato Wolde Yohannes Tekle-Mariam and had 12 children, and 18 grandchildren as of 2004.
1910 - 1989
His father Markos Kersa
His uncle Haile Kersa
His sister Tereza Markos
His sister Maria Markos (a Catholic nun) 
His Family
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Abba François Markos served as a Roman Catholic priest for 55 years, and he remains one of the most popularly beloved priests in the history of the ‘Sebaat Bet Gurage’ people; not only by Catholics but also by non-Catholics. Abba François is well known for promoting education among the Gurage People. Through out his life he actively participated in the economic development of Gurage area, particularly in the area of education, health and transport. Abba François Markos (i.e. Yirga Markos before baptism) was born in 1910 in Nadene village, Cheha Woreda, Shoa Province, Ethiopia from his father, Ato Markos Kaersa and his mother, Woizero Askale Mariam Kurissa. He had one brother, Alemu Markos and two sisters; Sister Maria Markos and Woizero Tereza Markos. His brother was older than he was and his two sisters were both younger than he was. When he was a young boy, he was a shepherd, like all young Gurage in his area. His father, Mr. Markos, was living 200 km. (125 miles) away in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working in the Post Office. His father visited the family annually, generally during Maskal Holiday, which is in late September. Since there was no road transport during those days, the one-way trip used to take 5 to 7 days. In 1919, Abba François Markos’ mother died and their uncle; Mr. Wolde-Mariam Kaersa took custody of the three children - François (9), Maria (5), and Tereza (1). Their father, Markos Kaersa remarried a year later to Askale Gebre-Michael and went back to Addis Ababa. He took with him his new wife, his oldest son Alemu, and his brother-in-law, Gizaw Gebre-Michael. A year later, François Markos with his cousin Tesfayae Wolde-Mariam went to Addis Ababa to live with his father. The cousins, François and Tesfayae joined French Community School ‘Alliance Française’ in 1921. Two years later, in 1923, Abba François’ father and his only brother died of ‘tessebo’ (Typhus disease). A French priest from the Nativity Catholic Cathedral named Father Mark, who knew young François, invited him to join the boarding school and continue their studies at the Alliance Française School. In 1926 Abba François was sent to Harer Abune Endrias School where he studied philosophy, theology and also mathematics and Latin. After 8 years studies he was ordained to priesthood in 1934 with two other friends by Bishop André Marie Elie Jarosseau, O.F.M. Cap.. After working for only one year in the Harar vicariate Abba François with the bishop's permission returned to the Addis Ababa vicariate. In his first mission in Gurage, he was parish priest of the Indibir St. Antonio's Church. He served the Gurage people by encouraging self help economic developments as well as social work. He built many primary schools attached to the Catholic Missions. He influenced government officials to introduce High school education. He encouraged local and international teachers to come and teach to these remote regions by making the initial adjustment period as comfortable as possible. Most of the time he himself used to go into the classrooms and give lessons especially in the area of mathematics. The people of Gurage call him "The Father of Modern Education." Abba François encouraged the community to build roads to connect each Kebele (county) and Werada (district) by stressing the importance of road transport for education, health and other economic developments. He built and renovated more than fifteen Roman Catholic Churches in the region. He also built the Atat Hospital and the Maganasse Leprosarium.