Roman Catholic Church: St. Joseph’s Mission

Roman Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Mission

Jesuit Father Hornig started St. Joseph’s Mission in August 1912 near Chief Hama’s village in the Chilimanzi Reserve (Tribal Trust Land), located south of Mvuma (Umvuma) in Chirumhanzu District, Midlands Province.

Chief Hama initially welcomed the Jesuits, but later opposed their efforts.  Nonetheless, between 1914 and 1916, the Jesuits opened a number of schools within a few miles of the mission and baptized approximately 200 new converts.  By 1920, there were 383 baptisms and 55 Christian marriages.

The Dominican Sisters opened a school in 1936, later staffed by the Gwelo (Gweru) diocesan African Congregation, the Sisters of the Infant Jesus (SJI).  Along with other missions within the Gwelo Diocese, St. Joseph’s was transferred to the control of the Bethlehem Mission Society (SMB – Swiss Bethlehem Fathers) prior to 1946.

Bishop Haene, SMB, began a minor seminary for Africans at St. Joseph’s in 1948. It was moved to Gokomere Mission in 1950 and then to Chikwingwizha, near Gwelo (Gweru) in 1962. As of 1952, mail was posted via private bag at Gwelo (Gweru).

The mission currently consists of a SJI Convent; St. Joseph’s Primary School; (St. Joseph’s) Hama High School; a Dominican Sisters Convent; and St. Theresa Hospital (staffed by the Dominican Sisters).


  • Mark Loomis