Société des Missions Africaines –Province des Etats-Unis

nasser louis né le 24 novembre 1925 à Tanta
dans le diocèse d'Héliopolis, Egypte
membre de la SMA le 11 février 1951
prêtre le 11 février 1952
décédé le 31 janvier 1997

1952-1968 missionnaire en Egypte
1969 passe à la Province US
1969-1970 Dedham, MA, développement
1971-1992 au service du diocèse de Brooklyn, NY
1992-1997 hospitalisé après une attaque

décédé à New York, USA, le 31 janvier 1997,
à l'âge de 71 ans

Hygoumenos Louis Nasser (1925 - 1997)

Louis Nasser was born, at 68 Rue Mohammad El Fateh, Tantah, Egypt, in the diocese of the Nile Delta, on November 24, 1925.
He died in Goldwater Memorial Hospital, Roosevelt Island, New York, USA, on January 31, 1997.

Louis Nasser was one of nine children born to Petraki and Samia (Syriani) Nasser. Petraki was a medical doctor, attending (free of charge) the SMA Fathers and Our Lady of Apostles sisters in Egypt for over 45 years. His children, like their parents, devout members of Egypt’s Greco-Catholic Patriarchate, were educated in SMA and OLA schools, Louis attending, like his father before him, the College of St. Louis in Tantah (1932-1943). He was also to spend one year at the Government College (1943-1944). During these years he felt called to priesthood but kept his intentions from his parents until he was sure, spending some 18 months working in the National Bank, in Cairo. At first Louis considered priesthood in the diocesan clergy of the Greco-Catholic rite, but his contacts with SMA Fathers led him eventually to apply for membership of that Society. In June 1945 he was accepted as an aspirant by Fr. Francis Aupiais, a senior member of the Society then visiting Egypt. Next, on the advice of Fr. Amand Hubert, SMA superior in Egypt, he returned to St. Louis College for an intensive course in Latin. In November 1946, having obtained permission from the Greco-Catholic Patriarchate, Louis entered the seminary of the Latin Patriarchate, at Beit Yala, near Bethlehem where he continued to study Latin and began his philosophy course. A year later he continued his philosophical studies in St. Leo the Great Catholic Copte Seminary, Tantah, graduating in February 1949. Louis commenced his theological course in the same seminary but after three months, with the unstable conditions caused by the outbreak of war in the region, he was sent to the SMA Seminary at Cours Gambetta, Lyon. Louis was received as a member of the Society on February 11, 1951. Exactly a year later, he was ordained a priest in Lyon by Cardinal Gerlier on February 11, 1952.

Ordained as a member of the Society’s Lyon Province, Louis was appointed to work in Egypt where the Province had many commitments. In the natural course he would not have taken up his appointment for some months, however news that his father was seriously ill caused him to expedite his plans. He arrived on May 15 1952, a day after his Father's death. In gratitude to Bishop Sidarous of the Coptic Catholic Church who presided at his father’s funeral, Louis undertook to visit Coptic Catholic families located in villages, a task which he accomplished regularly by means of a Vespa cycle. But his principal work was centred on his old school, St. Louis in Tantah, of which he was appointed Principal. Later he was posted Principal of St. George’s English College, Heliopolis, and Cairo. In all Louis was to spend sixteen years (1952-1968) as a member of the Lyon Province working in Egypt.

In 1964 Louis visited the United States where many members of his family had gone to live. Five years later, with the blessing of Society Superiors, he transferred his membership from the Lyon to the American Province. Louis arrived in America in May 1969, travelling by sea from Alexandria through Pyrea. At this time the Bishop of Brooklyn diocese (also various Coptic Patriarchates) was seeking pastors to minister to his jurisdiction’s large Coptic Catholic community. Inevitably Louis was to be earmarked for this work. But first he was to spend a year assisting the Promotion team in Dedham while making the transition involved in changing Provinces and countries. During this time he also prepared himself for his specialized outreach to the Coptic Catholics by studying Spanish, for in Brooklyn there were numerous Spanish and Latin American Catholics of both the Latin and Coptic rites.

Louis was to spend the remaining years of his active life working principally in Brooklyn diocese. His first appointment was to assist in the Most Precious Blood Church in Astoria, Queens. Later he was assigned to Guardian Angel parish and Holy Name church and hospital, both in Brooklyn. And he was to serve also in St. Francis Xavier parish and St. Catherine of Alexandria parish. In all these postings he celebrated Mass in Spanish as well as English. Increasingly during this period he began to minister to the various Coptic Catholic communities. In 1983 he helped the Coptic Catholics to buy the Resurrection church from the diocese of Brooklyn, and rejoiced with the community on the occasion of its incorporation on September 9, 1983. In the mid-1980’s he took on further responsibilities, celebrating each Sunday a Coptic Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Jersey City. His work for the Coptic Church was formally recognized when on August 21, 1988, he was given the title of ‘Monseigneur’ by Patriarch Sidarous 11.

In 1990 Louis developed cardiac problems and had bypass surgery. Two years later, in 1992, he suffered a serious stroke while celebrating Mass at St. Catherine of Alexandria. He was to spend the remaining years of his life in hospitals and nursing homes, dying at the age of 71. Louis made the best of these difficult last years. His confreres did their best to ease his sufferings and from time to time brought him on trips to Dedham and especially Tenafly. Perhaps October 1996 provided Louis’ most joyous moment when in his wheelchair and assisted by four Franciscan Brothers, he was able to attend Pope John Paul 11’s Mass in New York.
He is buried in the SMA community plot, in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Tenafly, NJ, USA.