Presentation on theme: "Missionary Sisters of the Assumption Aspects of the history & charism (which means our spirit)"— Presentation transcript:
Missionary Sisters of the Assumption Aspects of the history & charism (which means our spirit)
Presentation to Maryvale College
In 1849 Bishop Devereux asked for Assumption sisters to come to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape & open schools. I would like to tell you a little of the early sisters & how we became to be in Maryvale.
27 August 1849 – Antwerp 3 December 1849 – Port Elizabeth
Born: Brussels 21 April 1822 Amelia de Henningsen Mother Gertrude Notre Mere Died: Grahamstown 1 November 1904
The journey lasted over 3 months On the Oceanie: Sailors mutinied Pirates attacked Fire broke out Food went rotten Very little fresh water Most passengers became seasick
Between 3 & 11 December the Sisters prepared for their journey from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown. They washed their clothes and packed the wagons.
The Assumption Sisters were the first religious Sisters in Africa south of the Equator Pioneer Sisters of South Africa Many, even priests, thought they should not be here as the time was not ripe for women religious in SA Misunderstandings, changes due to circumstances & difficulties in communication obliged Notre Mere to break from the founding congregation & so began: “The Missionary Sisters of the Assumption”
Two novices came from France with Mother Gertrude. They made their vows as sisters on 21 December 1849 only 6 days after arriving in Grahamstown
Two Schools were started on 15 January 1850 the first convent schools in SA. Fee paying children in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” A free school in a stable
The Life of the Sisters in the early years was very different from their experiences of convent life in Europe. They had to cope with many difficulties. Everything was “new” They did not have a proper/private dwelling They were short of staff & money War broke out on Christmas day 1850
At night the Sisters together with the orphans & many from the town slept in the cellar of St Patrick’s Church
The Sisters were involved in many charitable works: Attended the sick Cared for orphans Buried the dead Ran a lottery for funds for a hospital Organised a library for the soldiers Gave religious instructions Sang in the Church choir Sacristans Helped other religious who came to SA
To raise much needed cash the skilful Sisters did needlework for the local community They grew flowers for Church. The Sisters started a fruit & vegetable garden to provide for the children & themselves. There were difficulties due to different climate.
During the first 9 years in SA Notre Mere experienced many difficulties & hardships 1854 death of Bishop Devereux who was a friend and supporter Difficulties with the local priest A maid, Jane, ‘was out of her mind’ Frontier wars Shortage of personnel & funds Stables used for free school washed away
In August 1858 I was struck down with a severe attack of pleurisy & given up by the doctors. On receiving the sacraments I was restored to health. It was during this illness that I saw Our Lady..... I thought I was drowning, felt the rush of waters in my ears & heard the waves dashing over me, when I perceived her on a boat, with the child on one arm & the other stretched out to save me. From that moment, I felt sure I would get better, though the doctors had given up hope. Notre Mere’s Memoirs
As a recovery programme the Doctor recommended the Notre Mere take a rest on a farm & go horse riding for recreation. She followed his instructions!
Mother Gertrude was given the name “Notre Mere” during the 1850 war - & it remained with her. Some aspects of her life:
She had a very special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament This has remained part of our Assumption Tradition as can be seen in the chapels of our convents
Notre Mere’s Motto the way I am the truth the life
Notre Mere’s psalm: O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry weary land without water. (Ps 62)
She committed her life to Christ
Selected sayings of Notre Mere Show God your love for him by your zeal & by charity without limit. Give yourself unreservedly to God; become a docile instrument in his hands. Follow the voice of your conscience. Integrity, justice & honesty are stronger than sentiment even though they can cost much pain. Be large minded as well as large hearted. Don’t strain at gnats; practise true charity & common sense not like people who are pigeon hearted.
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” John 10:10 Notre Mere “The glory of God is the person Fully Alive” St Ireaneaus
Paris Religious of Assumption founded in 1839 by Mere Marie Eugenie. Sr Gertrude leaves for South Africa in August 1849 Paris Religious of Assumption founded in 1839 by Mere Marie Eugenie. Sr Gertrude leaves for South Africa in August 1849 First Sisters arrive in Port Elizabeth South Africa on 3 December Arrive in Grahamstown 15 December Became a separate congregation. 1932: Sisters sent to Ballynahinch in Northern Ireland. Many Irish women joined MSA 1932: Sisters sent to Ballynahinch in Northern Ireland. Many Irish women joined MSA 1958: 4 sisters sent to USA to start a school; withdrawn in Over the years Sisters are sent to work in African countries: Egypt, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Our roots in Africa
MSA apostolate in Africa Currently in: South Africa Worked in: Egypt Malawi Nigeria Zambia Zimbabwe Sisters in formation from: Congo Kenya Nigeria
Our mission is in Education Health care Faith formation often we not directly involved & our aim is to enable others
MSA Crest Notre Mere chose the symbol of the anchor & the motto, Adveniat Regnum Tuum as the crest of her sisters
Shaped as the seal used by our early sisters. Southern Cross is a reminder of our origins in the southern hemisphere. The Cross The anchor is our oldest sign. It originates from our beginnings in the Cape of Good Hope. It is a sign of hope & of being “anchored” in the steadfast love of God. MSA Emblem
Charism & Heritage Statement The Missionary Sisters of the Assumption grew from the seven sisters, sent to South Africa by the Religious of the Assumption in The first religious women in South Africa, came at the request of Bishop Devereux of Grahamstown. His vision was that they would assist in Faith formation, Education Health care
In January 1850, they established two schools: o one fee-paying (to provide for their support) & o the other free From this small beginning schools were later established in other parts of South Africa, Africa & Ireland. Among these are: Maryvale College, Johannesburg Assumption Convent Malvern, Germiston Assumption Convent Primary School, PN
Fr Philip Erasme founded St Paul’s Parochial Primary School for boys in In 1990 the two schools merged to become Maryvale College: A vibrant, co-educational, Catholic School which offers quality education in the South African context. Maryvale College grew out of the first Assumption School to be established in Johannesburg. The parish priest, Fr Philip Erasme OMI, who had been educated by the Jesuits in Graham- stown, drove personally to Grahamstown to ask the Assumption Sisters to start a girls school. They did so in 1939
Maryvale College is a small dynamic school that offers quality Catholic education to learners from a range of backgrounds. We aim to educate so that our learners are not content to be consumers but to make a meaningful contribution to their world. The crest of the College combines elements of the two schools and speaks clearly of its spirit.
We integrate Academic excellence Gr % passes Service (Interact, peer counselling, community service group) A healthy all-round human development (sport, drama, choir, debating) & the services of a school counsellor Prayer at the heart of all we do
Maryvale College is a happy, caring, spiritual environment where young people can grow into responsible members & leaders of society who make a difference in their communities
The Sword The two-edged sword of the Word of God guides staff & learners. Prayer at the heart of the school community. St Paul was put to death by the sword The Anchor God’s faithfulness & steadfastness in our lives & our striving to be true to God, to ourselves & to one another. The Cross Christ’s gift of himself & our response in love. We form all learners in love of Christ. We follow the RE programme & worship together.
Motto is a phrase adopted as a principle of behaviour
Honour the Lord through learning
In all our work of humble service & in our prayer Mary assumed into heaven is our example & sign of hope