The Southern African Province
The Southern African Province (1883)
On 9 June 1883 the Abbot of Mariannhill, Franz Pfanner, left Southampton for South Africa, taking with him the first five Holy Cross Sisters.
They arrived in Durban 12 July 1883. Ministry for the Holy Cross Sisters to be found further inland. After a long and exhausting journey by oxwagon they arrived in Umtata (Mthatha) at Midnight 24 July 1883. Here, the Holy Cross sisters moved into three huts which became their first Convent. This was the humble beginning of the missionary activity of the Holy Cross Sisters on the African Continent.
The Southern African Province was in 1930 erected as a province. Until then, Southern Africa was administered directly from Menzingen, Switzerland.
Currently, we are present in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ireland. Our Sisters on mission are drawn from many different language and cultural groups in Africa, Europe and Mauritius. Our common language in communities is English.
Some of the most striking aspects of the Province of Southern Africa are our diversity and inter-cultural living centred on Jesus Christ. Urged by the Word of God and challenged by our multi-cultural diversity, we live a life of ongoing change of heart, widening our sphere of concern and empathy for the global human family and the whole of creation.
The General Chapter Message of 2013 inspires us to be “Women of Hope empowered by the Word”. Through our daily intimate and personal encounters with Jesus in prayer and the Eucharist, we are enabled to give credible witness to the transforming presence of God among us by our life of harmony in a world permeated by cultural, social and religious conflicts. Jesus Christ, the Lord and King of all, makes this life possible. This is the basis of our Hope!
As Province, we own seven schools and two frail-care centres. Assigned to twenty two Holy Cross Communities in four different countries, our Sisters engage in education, initial and ongoing formation, health, pastoral, catechetical, socio- pastoral work and development ministries at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Diocesan and Parish levels in collaboration with NGOs and other male and female religious Congregations. We also support politically and socio-economically disadvantaged people living on the edges of society. We pay special consideration to women; we initiate income-generating Projects.
Although many Sisters are elderly, they like to stay in ministry their health permitting. We also have a number of young Sisters engaged in pastoral work while others are in training for various ministries. Novices, Postulants and Candidates are formed in Victory Park, Renco Mine and Mukaro respectively.
Immediately after First Profession, Sisters are assigned to a Community where they have the opportunity to put into practice what they learnt in the years of formation. Community living becomes an important aspect in developing skills for varied ministry. Thus they learn to integrate their spirituality with community life and apostolic service.
Retired Sisters take a keen interest in the Province, Congregation at large and support the more active members by their prayers and supportive contact. Like Saint Paul, the retired Sisters offer up their limitations, pains and aches connected with old age. “It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church, of which I was made servant with the responsibility towards you that God gave me, that of completing God’s message, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and now has been revealed to his holy people“. (Col 1:24ff).
Holy Cross Provincialate
33, Thirteenth Street
PO BOX 44807
Tel. +27 11 782 4866
Fax +27 11 782 8614
Sr Monica Madyembwa