The Portuguese discovered the country in 1471, but evangelization only began in 1860, and it began in failure--the first two missionaries were poisoned.

In 1892 other missionaries came. They built the first chapel in Lomé, dedicating it to Our Lady of Sorrows. During their travels, they arrived at a city ruled by a spell-casting sorcerer, known as "Gran Bé." The sorcerer greeted them kindly, and granted them a piece of land. There the missionaries attached an image of Mary, Our Lady of Good Counsel, to a baobab tree. A few days later, they found the image thrown on the ground. Not giving in to discouragement, the missionaries reattached it, only in a more secure way. On December 8, 1892, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, they celebrated Mass. And so, little by little, the place became a center of pilgrimage.

Today, Catholics make up almost a quarter of the population. Their attachment to Mary is manifest, especially during the month of the Rosary.

In 1953, the diocese of Lomé organized a Family Rosary, with a statue of Mary going from house to house for short stays in families.

There are no Marian shrines per se in Togo, but the different Lourdes grotto replicas at Tomegbé, Atakpamé, Noépé, and Koudjarga (800 meters above sea level) are nonetheless true places of pilgrimage.

From 1998 to 1999, Marian apparitions allegedly took place in Tsevié. 


Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque Continenti, Ed Segno, Udine, 1997, p. 755-759