Makumbi Mission was established in 1923 as an outgrowth of a number of outstations started from Chishawasha by Father Richartz, the long serving Father Superior of Chishawasha Mission. It is located approximately 30 miles north of Salisbury (Harare) near the village of Domboshava in Chinamora District.
A primary school was begun at Makumbi in 1929 by the Dominican Sisters. The Sisters added a secondary school for girls in the early 1960’s. In 1973, a technical school was introduced to teach boys building and carpentry skills. The two schools were merged in 1980 to form Makumbi Secondary School. Under the administration of the Jesuits, the school is currently known as Visitation-Makumbi High School. It enrolls around 840 students, 600 of whom are boarding students.
Under the guidance of the Dominican Sisters, a novitiate was opened at the mission in December 1932, beginning with 19 African girls. It marked the founding of the first indigenous congregation of sisters in Southern Rhodesia, The Little Children of our Blessed Lady (LCBL). The first novice mistress, Mother Mary de Mercede, remained in office until 1960. There are currently approximately 200 LCBL Sisters in Zimbabwe.
Makumbi Mission is also home to the Makumbi (Upfumihwenyika) Children’s Home. The home, which supports nearly 100 orphans, is a Jesuit Social Apostolate run in collaboration with the LCBL sisters. And in 2013, the LCBL sisters opened a herbal processing plant at the Makumbi. The LCBL Herbal Project aims to provide herbal remedies to those who can’t afford or are unable to obtain prescription medicines.
The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe 1879-1979 – Dachs & W.F. Rea
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.
Ernest Lawrence Sells was born April 1899 in Leistville, Ohio. He attended Asbury College, Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey and Cornell University. Prior going to Africa as a missionary with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Reverend Sells was pastor at Methodist churches at Earlton and Verbank, New York.
Rev. Sells and his wife Dorothy arrived in Southern Rhodesia in 1927 and he would go on to serve for over 35 years. During that time, he served as superintendent at Mrewa (1929-33) and Mutambara Missions (1938); for a total of 22 years, he was superintendent of the Umtali District and pastor of St Andrews Methodist Church in Umtali; and beginning in 1956, he served as pastor and school principal back Mrewa Mission (Mrewa Methodist Center) where he over saw over 1000 students.
He also served on the central advisory board of the Rhodesian Government’s Department of African Education, as secretary of the Rhodesia Annual Conference of the Methodist! Church; and director of the Central Africa Christian Film Library.
Rev. Sells retired in 1964 and returned to the United States. He died September 1972 in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
The General Conference coordinates the global ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a body set up under the belief that no man should be governed by the judgment of another, and any decision should be made by an assembly. The General Conference is responsible for the spiritual and developmental plans of the church around the world.
The first General Conference in Rhodesia was held July-Aug 1931 in Mrewa and was a continuation of ten sessions of the East Central Africa Mission Conference and fourteen sessions of the Rhodesia Mission Conference.
Glendale Mission (Glendale Farm) was opened by Seventh-Day Adventist Church missionaries Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Gibson 10-12 miles south of Fort Victoria (Masvingo), Southern Rhodesia in 1913.
The mission farm consisted of 1900 acres and was staffed with helpers from Solusi Mission. This created an initial problem in that the first teachers were Ndebele who were distrusted among the Shona who inhabited the area. The mission day schools in four outstations were taught in the vernacular (local language). From these schools students “who [were] most apt in their studies” were brought to the main mission station school at Glendale where they were introduced to English. As of 1915, The Glendale school numbered 35-40 students.
By 1917, due to the sparse local population, church membership numbered only twenty-two. The Gibsons returned to South Africa and were replaced by Laurie Sparrow as mission superintendent and I. E. Evenson. Notwithstanding their efforts, in 1919-1920, Glendale reverted to the status of an outstation under Hanke Mission. Glendale Farm was later sold.