Roman Catholic Church: Loreto Mission

Roman Catholic Church

Loreto Mission

The Dominican Sisters opened Loreto Mission in 1944.  It was the first mission in Rhodesia founded by a women’s religious order and “a deliberate step to expand the Sister’s work in the rural areas.”  Previously the Sisters had only played a supporting role helping on priest-run missions. Loreto Mission is located in the village of Silobela near Kwekwe (formerly Que Que), Midland Province, Zimbabwe about 50 miles northwest of Gweru (formerly Gwelo).

The Sisters opened the Loreto School for the deaf in 1947.  It was constructed at a cost of 6,000 pounds, raised by donations and grants from the city governments of Gweru and Kwekwe.  The Sisters had earned the gratitude of the European population in Rhodesia, which led to financial backing for the school.  There were 7 students by the end of the second year.

Based on the training and background of the Sisters serving there, the school trained deaf children to speak and lip-read.  The school also provided training in hand and machine sewing with the hope that the students would be able to earn a living when they graduated. The school was forced to close in 1978 during the “war of liberation,” and moved to Emerald Hill in Harare (formerly Salisbury).  As of that time, the school had 80 students and 5 teachers.

Under the care of the Dominican Sisters, Loreto Mission is currently the site of Loreto primary and Secondary Schools, children’s home (orphanage), and the government run Silobela District hospital (previously known as Loreto Mission Hospital).

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

Mary Anne Cosgrave (Mother Patrick)

Mary Anne Cosgrave

(1863 – 1900)

Mary Anne Cosgrave [spelled Cosgrove in some accounts], pioneer nurse in Rhodesia and Dominican Sisters Prioress, was born May 1863 in Summerhill, County Meath, Ireland.  She was the second youngest of four children.  Both her parents died of tuberculosis when she was young.  She was then raised by her father’s cousin, John Cosgrave, in County Wexford.  She attended the Loreto Convent Secondary School in Enniscorthy until age 15.  When only 17 years old, she responded to a call for postulants and traveled to South Africa to join the Dominican Sisters Convent in King William’s Town. She celebrated her final profession as a nun in 1882, taking the name Mary Patrick.  Sister Patrick would spend the next nine years as a teacher in and around King Williams Town.

In 1889, Sister Patrick and a party of four other Dominican Sisters volunteered to provide nursing services in support of the “Pioneer Column” then being assembled by the British South Africa Company for the occupation of Mashonaland. Sister Patrick was appointed Mother Superior in charge.  The sisters traveled separately from the main column, spending time at the hospitals in Mafeking and Macloutsie, Bechuanaland, before reaching Salisbury in July 1891, ten months after the Pioneer Column first arrived. At Salisbury, the sisters took charge of the rudimentary hospital that had been set up. In October 1892, Mother Patrick opened the Salisbury Convent, the first school in Salisbury and one of the first schools in Rhodesia.  Mother Patrick and the Dominican Sisters were called upon again to provide nursing care when, in 1896, Southern Rhodesia was engulfed in the uprisings of both the Ndebele and Shona.

Two years later, the Rhodesian Dominicans were separated from the house at King Williams’s Town to form their own independent community, now known as the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Although in ill health, Mother Patrick was unanimously elected Prioress of the new community in 1899.  Her health continued to deteriorate, and she died of tuberculosis in July 1900 at the age of 37.  Mother Patrick was highly revered.  She was awarded the Order of the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria and her funeral, the largest held in the territory up until that time, was personally attended by Cecil Rhodes. In November 1970, Rhodesia issued a stamp in her honor, No. 4 in the Famous Figures Series.

Stamps Issues

References

Contributors
  • James Gavin

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Roman Catholic Church: Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Roman Catholic Church

Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

St Dominic de Guzman (c1173 – 1221) founded the Dominican Order (also known as the “Order of Preachers” – OP) in the early Middle Ages.  Women were apart of the Order from the beginning.  A convent of contemplative nuns was established in Prouille, near Toulouse, France in 1206.  Later, a number of “houses of women” attached to the Order were setup through out Europe, including the community of St Ursula in Augsburg, Germany.

The Dominican Sisters in their current form, however, are largely a product of the Nineteenth Century.  As a result of increasing missionary fervor, monasteries were asked to send groups of women to found schools and medical clinics around the world.  In response, seven Dominican sisters from St Ursula’s Convent led by Mother Tiefenböck arrived in South Africa in 1877 to found the Convent of the Sacred Heart in King Williams Town (KWT).

Mary Anne Cosgrave, taking the name of Mary Patrick at final profession, was an early member of the community, coming to South Africa from Ireland in 1880 at age 17. Nine years later Sister Patrick was asked to lead of party of five KWT Dominican sisters in support of the “Pioneer Column” then being assembled for the occupation of Mashonaland.

Reaching Salisbury in July 1891, the sisters took charge of the rudimentary hospital that had been set up.  In response to pleas from the growing population of settlers, in October 1892 they established the first school (convent) in Salisbury.  Mother Patrick and the Dominican sisters were called upon again to provide nursing care when, in 1896, Southern Rhodesia was engulfed in the Ndebele and Shona uprisings.

By 1898, the number of sisters in Rhodesia under Mother Patrick had risen to approximately 30, with communities in Salisbury, Fort Victoria, Bulawayo and at Chishawasha Mission.  In that year the Rhodesian sisters were separated from their “Mother House” at King Williams Town to form their own independent community.  Father Sykes, Superior of the Zambezi Mission (responsible for Rhodesia) had come to the conclusion that “this would enable them to adapt themselves better to local conditions … and in this way ensure and promote the growth and development of the Church in Rhodesia.”  The decision was made, however, without consulting the sisters themselves, who were then forced to make the difficult decision of remaining in Rhodesia or returning to their “Mother House.”  Nineteen sisters decided to remain. Mother Patrick was unanimously elected Prioress of the new community in 1899.  Unfortunately, due to ill health, she died soon after.

The Dominican sisters faced adversity during the “Bush War”/”War of liberation.” On February 6, 1977, four sisters were murdered along with three Jesuits as Musami Mission.  Another sister was killed in 1979 at Driefontein Mission. The name of the community was revised in 1984 to the present name of “Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Today, the Dominican Missionary Sisters operate a number of schools and other facilities in Zimbabwe, including the Dominican convents in Harare and Bulawayo, St Dominic at Chishawasha, and Emerald Hill; and hospitals at St Theresa, St Joseph and Regina Coeli Mission.  Locations outside of Zimbabwe include England (Greenwich and Gossops Green, Crawley), Germany (Kloster Strahlfeld), Colombia (Bogotá), and Kenya (St Mulumba Hospital and Juja).

Missions/Institutions

Southern Rhodesia
Northern Rhodesia
  • 1970 – St Catherine of Siena International Novitiate

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

Roman Catholic Church: Southern Rhodesia

Roman Catholic Church

Southern Rhodesia

Missions

Emerald Hill School for the Deaf

Emerald Hill School for the Deaf

Emerald Hill

Emerald Hill School for the Deaf has its origins in the Midlands Province in 1947 at Loreto Mission, Silobela, Kwekwe (Que Que), the school was forced to close during the “liberation war,” and reopened by the Dominican Sisters at Emerald Hill in 1979.

The first sisters to run the school were trained in Ireland, South Africa and later in Holland. In these countries, the sisters trained to teach the deaf to speak and lip-read, preparing them to be absorbed back in the society. Consequently, the school aimed to train deaf children speech and speech reading for many years until the school moved to Emerald Hill in Harare at the height of the war of liberation.An inter-play of many factors influenced the education system at the school at the new location in Harare. These included among others, the awareness of the deaf culture, deaf rights to their language, teaching staff and parents and the parent ministry‘s policy on deaf education. In 1985, secondary education was included.

The Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture emphasized the use of sign language, a trend that went on for two decades. The school administrators, however, were not very happy with the end product. The quality of students produced was very low and poor. Students, who could hardly speak, read or write any language at all. They were neither fluent nor efficient in sign language either. The deaf graduate from the school found many challenges fitting into the community they were supposed to live for the rest of their lives after school. The education system had many gaps and confused meanings.

In 2000, a donor assisted the school with hearing aids and training for the teachers. For over a decade now, the school is focusing on the Natural Aural Oral Method in teaching deaf children.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

Roman Catholic Church: Brunapeg Mission

Roman Catholic Church

Brunapeg Mission

The Roman Catholic Church established Brunapeg Mission in 1954.  The mission is located in rural Zimbabwe near the Botswana border, in Mangwe District, Matabeleland South Province, approximately 70 miles south of Plumtree.

Brunapeg is site of St. Anne’s (Brunapeg) Mission Hospital.  The hospital includes a nursing school – St Anne’s Brunapeg School of Nursing.  In 2007, the Canadian International Development Agency supported expansion of the school, which graduated 95 nurses between 2014-2017.

Capuchin fathers from the Province of Amala Annai (Immaculate Conception), Tamil Nadu, India were responsible for the mission and its outstations, such as Mayobodo’s Our Lady of Loreto parish, beginning 1989.  Capuchin friars are a reform offshoot of the Franciscans begun in the 16th century seeking a return to the original emphasis on prayer and poverty.  The Capuchins handed the mission back to the archdiocese of Bulawayo in 2005.

Brunapeg is currently part of St. Anne’s Parish, Archdioceses of Bulawayo.  As of 2017, it was under the direction of diocesan priest Fr. Ndlovu.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

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