Roman Catholic Church: Chishawasha Mission

Roman Catholic Church

Chishawasha Mission

Jesuit priests led by Father Richartz began Chishawasha, the first mission in Mashonaland, in 1892. The mission is approximately 15 miles northeast of Salisbury (Harare) located on a large farm granted to the Jesuits by the British South Africa Company in 1891. By 1893, a boys’ school was opened. During the Shona Rising (rebellion) in 1896, the mission was attacked and briefly seized. In 1898 Dominican Sisters arrived to establish a convent and the first school for girls in Rhodesia. 

Between 1901-1902, the historic Chishawasha church was constructed to replace the chapel built in 1898, which proved too small for the growing congregation. By 1915, both the boys and girls schools were providing both academic and “industrial” training, which for the girls consisted of “housecraft” and needlework and for the boys gardening, animal husbandry and building skills. 

In 1936, the Chishawasha Regional Seminary was opened for diocesan priests, initially with only 8 candidates.  It became a major seminary in 1944 and regional seminary in 1958. Also located near the Chishawasha mission are St. Peter’s Claver Primary and Secondary Schools, St. Joseph Primary School and Silveira House, a “Jesuit Social Justice and Development Center,” founded in 1964. The girls’ school became St Dominic’s Chishawasha in 1967, a Girls Secondary School (High School), which is still run by the Dominican Sisters.

In 2017, enrollment was 420 full-time boarding students. The initial boys’ school is now Chishawasha Mission Primary School, with both boys and girl boarding students who come from all over Zimbabwe.  The Jesuits also run Saint Ignatius College (High School) founded 1962.

Postcards

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis
  • Paul Peggie
  • Geoff Brakspear