Susan Broaddus and I worked together for many years on the Congo Network, a project of the worldwide Anglican and Episcopal churches to support the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She passed away on 3 December 2021 after a lifetime of faithful activism, including twelve years as an Episcopalian missionary in the Congo. This is to honor and remember her. May Susan rest in peace and rise in glory.
Susan’s obituary was published by The Virginian-Pilot from 8 December – 10 December 2021. A longer version was published on Facebook by Women to Women for Congo on 8 December 2021:
It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news of the death of Susan Broaddus, founder of the Women to Women for Congo and primary moderator of this page.
Susan Broaddus succumbed to cancer on December 3, 2021, in Norfolk, Va., where she was born in 1946.
Her life’s greatest passion centered on The Democratic Republic of Congo, where she served as an Episcopalian missionary for over 12 years, dedicated to improving the lives of the people in that lawless and war-torn region.
She was especially concerned for the women and children there, because many militias continually attacked the towns and villages. The militias often kidnapped or killed the men, sexually attacked the women, and left the children orphaned.
About a decade ago, Susan revisited the Congo and was inspired to do more by raising awareness and money in the United States to help her beloved Congolese people. She founded a group called Women-to-Women for Congo, which joined her mission to pray for and financially assist the people there. She also supported the Anglican seminary in the Congo, both through individual scholarships and by supporting the seminary’s capital projects.
She was at the forefront locally of assisting with the immigration of the Sudanese “Lost Boys,” personally assisting many of them with tutoring, housing, bureaucracy, and more.
Susan was a lifelong Francophile. Before retiring, she taught high school French in several school systems throughout the greater Hampton Roads area.
Her fluency in French enabled her to stay in touch with her friends and contacts in the Congo. When Susan’s health was declining rapidly from her second battle with cancer, the Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, who was the Archbishop of the Congo while she served there and is now retired, e-mailed a letter to Susan, which captured Susan’s spirit. It reads, in part (roughly translated): “I have no other words but to congratulate you for having led a life consecrated to the holy ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am convinced that you do not fear anything because, together, we have worked in the direction of ensuring the continuity of his mission to proclaim the Eternal Kingdom of God. Knowing that our human capacities have time limits, we had trained others among us and for subsequent generations. The mission continues.”
In addition to her work with the Congo, Susan was an avid reader and member of a book club. Shelves and stacks of books on many subjects filled her home. She also was active in her church, Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Susan was preceded in death by her parents, John and Margaret Broaddus, and her sisters, Margaret (Midge) Hutchison, and Ann Broaddus. She is survived by her nephew, Jason Nowell, and extended family and hometown friends….
If you would like to remember Susan in a meaningful way, please contribute to Episcopal Church Women, designating “Broaddus/Congo” in the memo line (mail to: ECW, Christ & St. Luke’s Church, P.O. Box 11499, Norfolk, VA 23517)