Tanzania the beginning
The founding of the mission of the Pallottine Sisters in Tanzania was a most important event in the history of the Pallottine Sisters of the English Province. For many years the Pallottine Fathers of the Irish Province had been inviting them to come and work especially with girls and women. Two of their Tanzanian priests, Fr. Basil Ikhula and Fr. George Damball, even wrote to the Superior General in Rome and visited the Provincial House of the Sisters in Rochdale, England requesting Sisters to come to Tanzania.
Sr. Christine Bohr, the Provincial Superior, played a leading role. With great courage, faith and vision she began to organise the event. She met with the Pallottine Fathers and in February 1989 visited Tanzania and was given an introduction to the country and to the Missionaries working there by Fr. Basil Ikhula. In October 1989 she paid a second visit accompanied by Sr. Mary Mc Nulty, a qualified teacher. The decision was then made to establish a community in the Singida Diocese in the semi-desert Region of Central Tanzania.
At the invitation of the Bishop of Singida, Rt. Rev Bernard Mabula three Sisters, Sr. Hedwig Kaiser, Sr. Mary Mc Nulty and Sr. Stella Barelli, left London on June 25th to work alongside the Pallottine Fathers in the Diocese of Singida. They received a warm welcome from the Fathers in Makiungu parish, and they began to live in the Father’s old house which had been renovated for their use. The MMM Sisters, who run the Mission Hospital in Makiungu, generously supported them with good advice, encouragement and expert medical care.
Even though the three Sisters only knew a few words of Swahili, Fr. Noel O’ Connor, the Parish Priest, encouraged them to begin work immediately.
During July and August Sr. Mary taught English to the Kituo cha Malezi (the Pre- Form One Class) and Sr. Stella taught sewing to the girls of the group. In September they went for a three months’ Swahili Course to Kipalapala, Tabora. Sr. Mary was the Superior of the community.
The Sisters began working full time in the parish, Sr. Mary was put in charge of the Kituo cha Malezi and taught English and Religion to the growing number of pupils there. Sr. Hedwig began a Kindergarten group, taught sewing and both she and Sr. Mary taught Religion in Makiungu Primary School and later various lessons to the Pallottine Fathers’ Aspirants. Sr. Stella looked after their home and taught sewing to the Kituo girls. Little by little they all became more involved in parish activities and took Holy Communion to the sick.
In July 2013 another historical event took place, the Provincial Chapter of the English Province was held for the first time on African soil and the title of the Province changed from English Province to English-Tanzanian Province and placed under the patronage of Mary Queen of Peace.
To read more on our current projects and appeals click here
Work on building the first phase of the convent and the school got underway under the careful supervision of Fr. Oliver O’ Brien, the Development Officer of the Diocese. In June the Sisters and their candidates moved to Siuyu and the Convent was officially opened and blessed on the feast of the Sacred Heart, 22nd June. At the time Siuyu was an out-station of Makiungu parish, 10 km away. For a few months the Sisters travelled every morning to Makiungu for Holy Mass and to collect drinking water. It was a very difficult time until they got their own supply of water at the end of August when wells were drilled.
As the Sisters were preparing to open Pallotti Secondary School they applied to TANESCO, the Electricity Company, to be connected to the national grid. However, they had to wait over seven years before they were connected in 2002, and then only after Sr. Christine Bohr, the Provincial Superior, had written a letter to Mr. Mkapa, the President of Tanzania! In the meantime they used two generators to supply electricity at night to the convent and the school. As the buildings grew the supply was totally inadequate.
Our Tanzanian Sisters now hold positions of authority and responsibility in all our apostolates and three of the four Provincial Councillors are from Tanzania.
In January 2010 Sr. Redempta Mallya was appointed Headmistress of Pallotti Secondary School. After three years Sr. Martha Lohi took over this responsibility.
In the large Siuyu community of Sisters, Sr. Maria Ipwaya is Superior since January 2013 and in Poli Singisi Sr. Honorata is Superior since August 2012.
In February 2015 two candidates from Malawi came to live in our Formation House in Arusha. Sr. Honorata is accompanying them on their first steps to becoming Pallottine Sisters.
During the last 25 years the Superiors from the Generalate in Rome have regularly visited Tanzania giving the Sisters much needed guidance, encouragement and support as well as challenging them to live authentic religious lives and be witnesses to Christian values in our world.
With a deep sense of gratitude to God for all that has been achieved since the first Sisters with joyful hearts set foot on African soil they wish to echo the words of St. Paul in Ephesians 3:20- Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we could ask or imagine