The mission of Living Waters International is to procure funds for the support of Roman Catholic missionary and international development projects in Africa and India. This mission arises from faith in Jesus Christ, the belief that He desires that the Gospel be shared with all people, and the belief that He calls each of us to do our part to alleviate human suffering among the poor and marginalized of this world.
Living Waters International, Inc. was established after two of its founders, Mary S. Zimmerman and Stephen L. Zimmerman, had visited projects of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales and the Holy Cross Sisters in Tanzania, East Africa in 1994. These two founders and representatives from the missionary orders discussed methods for advancing the orders' endeavors. Establishing a not-for-profit corporation based in the United States to solicit funding was deemed to be most effective. Thus, Living Waters International, Inc. was established.
Living Waters International, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1996 in the Green Bay Diocese of Wisconsin by Karen and Brian Prunty of SS. Mary & Hyacinth Parish, Antigo, and Mary and Stephen Zimmerman of St. Wencel Parish, Neva. Living Waters International is listed in the Official Catholic Directory (P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York). Living Waters International, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501 (c) (3). For more financial information, please visit the Documents section below.
Awards & Affiliations
Living Waters International has been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence and is a proud member of Christian Charities USA and the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #: 11412).
When a religious congregation goes into an unevangelized part of the world, one of the very first things it must do is establish infrastructure. Living Waters has since the end of the last century, worked with religious congregations in Africa to solicit funds for establishing that infrastructure. Some of the parts of this infrastructure are building parish churches and chapels in the village outstations, convents for Sisters and rectories for men, Catholic schools and student hostels for children, and health clinics. The former provide a place for missionaries to live; the latter meet some of the most basic needs of those living in the communities being evangelized.
Living Waters International supports various religious congregations and diocesan priests and nuns throughout Africa. Initially responding to the call of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales in Tanzania, East Africa, through our time spent in Africa and various contacts made, we now support the religious and the missions where they serve in many countries in Africa, extending from Nigeria in North Africa to South Africa and Mozambique in the south. It is through our support of these religious, through formation of their candidates, spiritual renewal programs and retreats, and support for daily living expenses of food and other basic needs, that they are able to pursue their vocations as religious.
The intent of any religious congregation upon entering a new unevangelized part of the world is to first introduce the Catholic faith, and to establish strong Christian communities of believers, and to second, educate and form individuals from the native population to take up the mission of evangelizing their own people. It is for this very reason that religious formation of the indigenous populace is such a critical part of any missionary initiative. In many cases, it is the native religious who are more readily accepted by the local people, hence the need to train and form them as early as possible.
The Seminarians' Purse is an initiative to support future priests of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in the Province of East Africa. The MSFS began their apostolate in Africa in 1988. The first mission, established in Tanzania, laid a firm foundation that steadfastly grew into the Province of East Africa. Established in 1996, the Province now extends its outreach to seventeen parishes and two sub-parishes in ten dioceses in the three East African countries of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The province currently has seventy-two perpetually professed confreres, among which are sixty-five ordained MSFS priests from India, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, sixteen of which are native East Africans. These missionaries are involved in parish missions, evangelization, religious formation, formal and non-formal education, vocational training, and social services, including caring for orphans and street children, empowering women, and providing medical services. Soon after arriving in East Africa, the MSFS began to promote native vocations to the priesthood. Many young men have responded to God's call. The MSFS Junior Seminary was established at Kihonda, Morogoro, Tanzania in 1993.
Stages of Formation
Aspirancy is the first stage of formation where young men who aspire to become priests have their initial formation. It is a period of one year during which the basics of religious and priestly life are taught. Beginning in 2019, the Aspirancy house will be in Lugazi, Uganda.
The Postulancy is the second year of formation. This stage of formation is conducted at the Fransalian Seminary in Ndagani, Kenya. In this second year of formation, those things learned in year one are expanded on and gone into in greater depth.
The Novitiate is a one-year period of intensive formation in which the seminarians are introduced to the Fransalian way of life with its charisms and apostolates. They learn more about the demands of religious life. It is also a period of discernment of their religious and priestly vocation. At the end of the Novitiate year, the seminarian makes a solemn profession of evangelical counsels (vows) and becomes a temporary member of the Congregation of Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. The MSFS Novitiate House, i.e. the Fransalianum is located at Kibaha in the Dar es Salaam Archdiocese of Tanzania.
Philosophy Studies are for three years. The seminarians are introduced to various philosophies and critical thinking. The MSFS Philosophy program is conducted at the Lumen Christi Institute at Maji ya Chai in the Arusha Archdiocese of Tanzania and is affiliated with De Sales University, Allentown, PA.
The Pastoral Year or Regency is a one-year program in which seminarians join with MSFS priests in various apostolates of the Congregation in parish missions, schools, or formation houses, and learn and experience more about the Fransalian way of life.
The Theology Studies are a four-year program wherein theological subjects are taught, and dogmas and doctrines of the Church are introduced to the seminarians. At the end of the third year, the seminarian makes his Perpetual Profession and becomes a permanent member of the Congregation. He also receives the Diaconate Ordination. At the end of the fourth year, he is ordained a priest of the MSFS Congregation. Theology students of the MSFS reside at the Fransalian Study House in Kola Hills and attend classes at nearby Jordan University College in Morogoro town, Morogoro Diocese of Tanzania.
There are currently sixty-three young African men in various stages of formation to become Missionaries of St Francis de Sales priests in the Province of East Africa. Annual expenses per seminarian are US$2,700 for Philosophy and US$3,000 for Theology, which includes tuition and board.
To support a future missionary priest through the Seminarians' Purse, visit our Donate page. For more information about supporting a seminarian, contact us by any means listed on our Contact page.
Through the generous donations of individuals, we are able to provide school tuition assistance to many impoverished children in Catholic Mission Schools in Africa. In addition to school fees, support provides for food and other basic necessities for the children and their families. We are currently not assigning new students to our sponsors, but rather welcome support for mission schools in Africa where those children in greatest need will share the support.
It was indeed Christ’s message to all of us that "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." (Mathew 25:40).
In so many parts of the lesser developed world and in many parts of Africa, the material and medical needs are great. We, as missionaries and the missionaries we strive to support on the ground in Africa, wish to assist the most vulnerable in African society to meet their most basic human needs. Sometimes this can mean providing food aid for families unable to meet their own needs; sometimes it is assisting in a medical procedure that requires urgent attention for survival and life of a child; and other times it is providing basic shelter or support for securing and storing fresh water for human consumption.
Ted & Stacey Brettingen
At the onset of the COVID 19 shutdown, Ted Brettingen shares, "Around that time, I was chosen to receive an additional donation through my employer, BMO Financial Group, via the United Way Giving Campaign to a charity of my choosing. The choice of where to direct the donation was an easy one."
Surely, you and your good people at LWI will never know how much you mean to us. At every dark moment you are the people who appear with a light so bright to illumine our dark lives.
Marilyn Lisowe shares, "The reason I support Living Waters is because they serve the truly poor. I am also impressed by their low overhead program coming in at just 1.8 percent, and I highly recommend supporting Living Waters to others for those same reasons."
Fr. Thomas Chozhithara Varghese
With a heart full of gratitude, I would like to acknowledge that in the new mission of Iyolwa, Uganda, the support which we receive from Living Waters is changing the lives of many young orphan children. The children who hang around at lunch break during school have nothing to eat at home, so we provide for them a warm meal and other educational supports. How can a child learn something when his or her stomach is empty? It is here that Living Waters came to help us and our children are very grateful for empowering them in their daily lives. Together we are building a new generation of Ugandans. May our merciful Father bless you all abundantly!
Sr. Lucy Sungu, Servants of the Good News
Mbulu Diocese, Tanzania
Radio Habari Njema acknowledges the support given to us through Living Waters International. Our evangelical efforts would not be possible without their backing. Through LWI funding, we are reaching nearly ten million people daily and with their collaborative efforts, we are empowering women, promoting their equality, running programs for bible studies in Small Christian Communities, and Catholic doctrine just to mention a few. LWI embraces the poor and marginalized with the heart of God! As program director, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them for edifying the people of God in Africa.
The Seminarians' Purse is an initiative to support future priests of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS) in the Province of East Africa. The MSFS began their apostolate in East Africa in 1988. Thirty-five MSFS priests currently serve in parish missions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique. These missionaries are involved in religious formation, formal education, vocational training, and social services, including caring for street children, empowering women, and providing medical services. Sponsoring a Seminarian not only benefits the individual, but also the community. To sponsor a Seminarian, click on one of the payment buttons above and provide the name of the seminarian in the comments.
Countless are the needs of the impoverished in Africa; constant are the requests for help that we receive from the missionaries. The Special Needs Initiatives are generally chosen by Living Waters' board members once or twice a year and appear in our biannual newsletters. To donate to any of the Special Needs Initiatives, click on one of the payment methods above and designate your gift accordingly.
Diapers for Goretti
Goretti was born with a condition known as bladder exstrophy, a congenital defect that causes the bladder to protrude through the abdominal wall. In her first five years, Living Waters has helped Goretti's condition by way of summer fundraisers so the family could afford to buy diapers, sterile gloves, and anti-bacterial ointment. This has made a significant impact because for the most part, it kept her infection free, thus the family was able to avoid costly visits to a health clinic.
This October, Goretti's doctor said the time had come for her to have corrective surgery. He told her parents that by this time next year, it would be too late to do anything for her; surgeries were performed in November 2022 with good results with one exception, she does not have control of her bowel movements and meantime she needs to wear diapers. The good news is the doctor assured them that she will be able to control this eventually.
With the help of Living Waters and a few solicitations, they have paid some of the hospital bills, but the cost of diapers, post-surgical aids, and costly follow-up visits to the doctor's office remain a financial burden ($3,000 expected for the year ahead) for the family. We hope you will consider donating to her cause. Her father is deaf making it difficult to get work, and her mother has had to stay home with Goretti as she needs around-the-clock care. Please consider making a monetary gift that will make a little girl's dream to be like all the other children, and a desire to be with them in school.
The parishioners of the Ibumbida Mission in the Singida Diocese of Tanzania are busy cultivating sugarcane to help less fortunate families send their children to school. Due to a shortage of sugar in the country, the parish inherited fifty acres of land from the government to grow the sugarcane.
Father Angelo Kaizirege, Society of the Precious Blood Missionaries, explains, "The initial start-up budget is $500 US dollars per acre, which is the greatest challenge before us. Once we get enough, the project will be self-sustaining for it is income generating." According to Father, a well-maintained farm will yield $400-$600 per year.
Aside from tuition fees, the money will also provide food, boarding, school supplies and health insurance that’s necessary for malarial attacks. Because these young people have such a great stake in this project, they are required to work on the crop four hours per week. "We consider their homework and some time to relax. The parents, or relatives who care for the students spend a great deal of time working it; we encourage them to involve themselves in this sugarcane initiative to support their children."
Education has the power to make our world a better place to live. One acre of sugarcane can yield a minimum of twenty-nine tons and a maximum of forty; for the children it will yield a lifetime of knowledge, knowledge that can reduce poverty, make people healthier, increase income and foster peace.
We hope you can find it in your heart or budget to support these efforts.
Another great way to donate to Living Waters International is to use AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice, at no cost to you. So, please consider using AmazonSmile and designating Living Waters International Inc. as your charitable organization.
Key Program Dates for Cycle 1
|January 1||The Grant Application Request Form (GARF) will first be available at the website: www.livingwatersinternational.org.|
|February 10||The window to obtain a GARF will close.|
|February 24||Living Waters International will begin to email Grant Application to those applicants approved based on the merits of their GARF.|
|April 24||Completed Grant Applications must be submitted by this date.|
|June 6||Living Waters International will begin to notify grant applicants of its funding decision.|
|July 15||Living Waters International will begin disbursing the grant funds.|
Key Program Dates for Cycle 2
|August 1||The Grant Application Request Form (GARF) will first be available at the website: www.livingwatersinternational.org.|
|September 10||The window to obtain a GARF will close.|
|September 24||Living Waters International will begin to email Grant Applications to those applicants approved based on the merits of their GARF.|
|November 24||Completed Grant Applications must be submitted by this date.|
|December 15||Living Waters International will begin to notify grant applicants of its funding decision.|
|January 15||Living Waters International will begin disbursing the grant funds.|
Other Pertinent Information
- Living Waters International will only consider requests for financial assistance utilizing the process outlined above.
- The grant application request form and grant application, and any other documentation must be submitted in English.
- All financial amounts must be expressed in U.S. dollars.
- The maximum amount of a grant award is $20,000.
- The money disbursed by Living Waters International for approved grants must be applied and only applied to the project cited in the original grant request.
- No grants will be considered that benefit an individual, provide debt reduction, fund operating expenses, or reimburse a prior event/program.
- Applications for grants for projects directed to the poor and marginalized, or programs providing significant impact to communities will receive funding priority.
- Applications sponsored by members of the Norbertine Community will be given special consideration.
- Grant applications will not be considered from applicants who were awarded a grant within the previous 12 months.
- Grants are awarded for a time period of one year only.
- Please do not call or email concerning the status of your application request.
To begin the process of applying for the Living Waters International’s St. Norbert Abbey Grant Program, click the button below to download the Grant Application Request Form.
The grant application window is currently closed. Please check back between January 1 - February 10 or between August 1 - September 10.