On 14 September 2022, the diocese of Oudtshoorn officially announced that the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians would be arriving in the diocese on Saturday, 8 October 2022 in Dysselsdorp. His Lordship, Bishop Noel Andrew Rucastle will welcome the Sisters by celebrating Holy Mass at St. Conrad of Parzham Catholic Church, thereafter he will bless the St. Mary`s convent in Kolping where the Sisters will reside.
The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC) are a Pontifical Right Institute of Women Religious affiliated to the Salesian Family of Don Bosco. Venerable Bishop Stephen Ferrando, SBD., founded the Congregation in Guwahati (Northeast India), on 24 October 1942; he then placed them under the patronage of Mary Help of Christians.
The primary mission of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians that incarnates the Salesian charism is education through missionary evangelisation (missio ad gentes), educating women, girls, and children in villages, and the education of the young informal and “informal” schools. The Sisters also provide health care for the poor and needy, they work to empower women, and they involve themselves in the society to foster and deliver transformation. They are also committed to living out the Gospel through their vows, austerity, and prayer, which imitates the spirit of Don Bosco; them going to live in Dysselsdorp, a village in the Garden Route District municipality in the Western Cape Province situated 30 kilometers east of Oudtshoorn is definitely in line with their primary mission.
The presence of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians in a gender based violence scourged country such as South Africa is a huge blessing. According to Q1 crime statistics 2022/23 in South Africa, 855 women and 243 children were killed from April to June 2022, and of the 11 000 GBV cases that were opened at different police stations, 1 670 of them involved children. It is therefore crucial that our society have people such as the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians who are rooted in the love of God and caring for such vulnerable groups to be present among us.
Presently, the MSMHC Congregation has 1244 sisters in 205 convents. There have six provinces in India, a delegation in Italy, and a sub-delegation in Africa. The sub-delegation in Africa operates directly under the Superior General who administers and brings to life the community through a sub-delegate superior and a council made up of three members.
We wish the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians a wonderful stay in the diocese of Oudtshoorn. May they continue serving Jesus with fidelity and love until death.
In the picture – from left to right: Sr. Monica, Sr. Elsa, and Sr. Rosie
Photo courtesy: Diocese of Oudtshoorn Facebook page