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