A Roman Catholic Priest in Africa
Abba François Markos served as a Roman Catholic priest for 54 years, and he remains one of the most popularly beloved priests in the history of the ‘Sebaat Bet Gurage’ people, both to Catholics and 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 the Gurage people, particularly in the area of education, health and transport. For more ... go to Biography. 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 Gurage people 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 reliable transportation for education, health and other economic developments. He built and renovated more than fifteen Roman Catholic Churches in the region.  He initiated and coordinated the first road construction, the first hospital, at Attat, the first clinics at Dakuna and Getche. Growing up Abba François' father, Mr. Markos Kaersa was born in 1885 in Nadene, Cheha Wereda. As a young boy he had the opportunity to travel to Harrer with one of his merchant relatives. There he got French education from the Catholic missionaries and became a Roman Catholic. When he came back he got a job with the post office in Addis Ababa. He got married in his late teens to Ms Neguatate Kurissa, who was named Askale Mariam Kurissa after baptism. They had four children, two boys and two girls. In those days, travel between his birth place, Nadene, at Cheha Wereda, to the capital city, Addis Ababa, used to take five to seven days by foot and on horse back. Because of this distance, Ato Markos visits his family, once a year,during the well known Christian Gurage celebration of the "Maskal Holiday" (i.e founding of the Holy Cross). So Woizero Askale had to take care of the 4 children all by herself. She got sick and died in 1919. Ato Markos' brother, Ato Wolde Mariam Kaersa took the children into his custody until Ato Markos returned from Addis Ababa. After a year, Ato Markos Kaersa got married to Askale Gebre-Mikael. This time he took his new wife, his eldest son Alemu, and his new wife's brother Gizaw Gebre-Mikael to Addis Ababa. Later on Child Francois Markos with his cousin Tesfaye Wolde-Mariam joined the family in Addis Ababa.      
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Abba Francois Markos
Abba Francois Markos
His Family 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
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