Roman Catholic Church: Berejena Mission

Roman Catholic Church

Berejena Mission

The Swiss Bethlehem Fathers (SMB) established Berejena Mission in 1956.  It is located approximately 60 miles south of Masvingo, Zimbabwe (formerly Fort Victoria, Southern Rhodesia) in the Chibi Tribal Trust Land.  Father Michlig obtained permission from the local chief, Berejena – whose name means “White Hyena” – to establish a school “on a hiss rising out of the sandy grassland amid a wild profusion of trees and bushes.”

At the request of Bishop Haene, Diocese of Gwelo, Sisters Theresia Nadler, Agnella Renn and Antonia Farry of the Dominican Sisters of King William’s Town, South Africa (“KWT Dominicans”) were sent to the mission, arriving in January 1958.  KWT Dominicans Sisters continued to support the mission (which they referred to as “Our Lady of Peace Mission”), until 1987.  With the assistance of the Dominican Sisters, a central school, secondary school, hospital and home craft schools were developed.

In 1976, the mission got caught up in the “liberation war” when Fr. Paul Egli, SMB, was arrested, imprisoned for one year and subsequently deported by the Rhodesian Government for allegedly “assisting terrorists and failing to report the presence of terrorists.”  Tragically, in 1980 during the “cease fire” preceding Zimbabwe independence, Fr. Killian Huesser, SMB, was shot to death at Berejena Mission.  There is a debate as to whether he was killed by “guerrillas” or Rhodesian Selous Scouts posing as guerrillas.

References

Contributors

  • Mark Loomis