Tanzania (Part 3) Nanjota (since 1976)

Tanzania (Part 3) Nanjota (since 1976)


In 1974 Bishop Cotey asked for three sisters for another mission station in Lionja, which was also in the Diocese of Nachingwea. In December 1974, the General Management decided to take over this station.

In 1976 three new Polish missionary sisters arrived in Tanzania and first went to Kilimarondo to acclimatize. However, when they arrived in Lionja at the beginning of March 1976, the planned buildings had not yet been prepared. Therefore, the arrangements had to be changed at short notice, and the sisters went to Nanjota.



Nanjota was 150 kilometers from Kilimarondo. On March 29, 1976, the second branch of the congregation in Tanzania was established here, initially with three sisters. The station of the Polish Salvatorians, where the sisters lived, consisted of a large house, a farm building with pens for pigs and small livestock, and a garden with numerous fruit trees. The population lived in simple mud huts covered with grass and tin. Their farms were outside the huts. Not all residents had beds and kitchen utensils. In contrast to Kilimarondo, the water here was scarce, it had to be collected and fetched from afar and was often polluted. On the site of the mission station there were tanks for collecting rainwater and a well.

In Nanjota, as in Kilimarondo, the sisters worked in areas in which the congregation had been active in Europe for decades: they ran a kindergarten, taught sewing to the women, looked after the church and looked after a small hospital with 30 beds and treatment rooms for outpatients. In Nanjota, obstetrics was particularly important, so the sisters ran a maternity ward.

At the end of the 1970s, there were only two sisters in Nanjota and in Kilimarondo, which made the continuation of the missionary work questionable. However, by mid-1984 their number had increased to four.

On October 13, 1978, the Diocese of Nachingwea signed an agreement with the Congregation. It made the two stations in Kilimarondo and Nanjota available to the sisters for their missionary work, paid the sisters working there financial support and provided for their medical treatment while they were in Tanzania.

The General Treasurer, Sister M. Notburga, organized support for the mission from Germany. She sent a wide variety of everyday items to Tanzania in containers. For several years, the women’s community in Wenden donated the proceeds from a bazaar to the mission stations.


The postulants who had initially been in Kilimarondo were cared for in Nanjota in 1990. The community of sisters partly provided for their own food by growing vegetables and raising poultry and pigs.

The African novitiate was also opened in Nanjota. On December 7, 1990, the first four local novices were invested. Sister M. Konsolata Wilma was installed as mistress of novices.

On December 8, 1992, three African novices made their first profession. The Superior General, Mother M. Angela, came to Africa specifically to receive them. Bishop Magnus Mwalunyungu personally preached the high mass because it was the first profession of Sisters of Mary in Africa.

From 1990 to 1998, 22 novices were invested in Tanzania and 15 African sisters made profession.

With the opening of the new branch in Chikukwe in 1998, the novitiate was moved there.


House Superiors

Evangelista Dąbrowska       05.03.1976 –

Viannea Parchatko              06/01/1986 –

Miriam Kusek                      08.12.1994 –


(Johannes Mertens, „Aus der Geschichte der Kongregation der Marienschwestern von der Unbefleckten Empfängnis“, Band 2, S. 628-630)

Tanzania (Part 2) Kilimarondo (1972 – 1991)

Tanzania (Part 2) Kilimarondo (1972 – 1991)


In accordance with the decision of the General Chapter of 1969, Mother M. Gertrud, Superior General, tried to establish a mission station. Having no experience in this area, the Congregation contacted the Salvatorian Order, which was active in Africa. As a result, in September 1971, the Missionary Bishop Father Arnold Cotey from Tanzania visited the Generalate. He was accompanied by the Mission Procurator of the Salvatorians and an Assistant General of that Order. It was agreed that the sisters of Mary Immaculate could come to Kilimarondo to a Salvatorian mission station belonging to Bishop Cotey’s Diocese of Nachingwea. Kilimarondo was south of the equator. The place was surrounded on three sides by not very high mountains. Compared to other areas of the country, it had the advantage that sufficient drinking water was available. The mission station consisted of a church, two mission houses, farm buildings, a boarding school and a catechist’s house. It had also owned a school and hospital, but these had recently been taken over by the state.

Opinion about the sisters was divided in the Nachingwea Diocese. Some priests said they weren’t needed.

Opening in Kilimarondo

The first two sisters arrived in Tanzania in December 1972. They spent Christmas with a community of sisters in Dar es Salaam and began work in Kilimarondo on December 28, 1972, where the parish was overseen by an African priest. On February 18, 1973, a third sister followed. One of the missionaries had prepared for the mission at the Catholic University in Lublin with language courses in English and Swahili and other courses. The other two sisters did the language course in Tanzania.

The sisters lived in a massive one-story building that was part of the Salvatorian Mission. Such a house was unusual locally, as the population lived in mud huts. Each sister had her own room upstairs; a fourth room served as a guest room. The house had electric lights, running water and sewerage. The sisters slept under mosquito nets, which were also supposed to keep out any crawling vermin.


Areas of work

The sisters also worked in Africa in the classic areas of work for the congregation. A sister taught religion and handicrafts in the school and gave sewing lessons to the women. Another sister looked after the outpatients, the sacristy and the church laundry. The third sister taught women home economics and mentored the African workers. During the 1970s, a kindergarten was set up on the ward. Some distance from the station a house was built in the bush to serve as a sewing school for the women who lived near it.

Bishop Arnold Cotey was very pleased with the sisters of Mary. There were plans to take over another station at a Salvatorian work site. However, there were too few sisters in Africa. In 1978 there were only two sisters in Kilimarondo.

The cast was too small. Because the situation was equally unfavorable in the second branch in Nanjota, which opened in 1976, the interim chapter in Rome in 1978 spoke out in favor of ending the missionary work. However, only a general chapter could make the necessary decision. However, the next general chapter in 1981 decided to continue the mission in Tanzania despite the personnel difficulties. In the mid-1980s there were three sisters in Kilimarondo again.


African candidates

In the 1980s more and more young African women showed interest in the Congregation. Bishop Pengo also advocated an African novitiate. In 1984, the intermediate chapter first decided to set up a longer postulate in Kilimarondo, since local priests worked here, which was helpful for the local young girls.

Since then, looking after the candidates has become an important task for the Kilimarondo branch. In 1988 there were already 20 candidates here. A new house was completed that year for them to live in. They were partly self-sufficient by growing corn and rice.

However, Kilimarondo was unsuitable as a location for the novitiate, being more than 100 kilometers from the nearest major town of Nachingwea; the road was extremely bad even by African standards and impassable in the rainy season. Therefore, the novitiate was opened in 1990 in the second site Nanjota.



On December 31, 1991, the Kilimarondo branch was closed. The Superior General placed the house that had been built for the candidacy at the bishop’s disposal.


House Superiors


Aldona Plazek               28.12.1972 –

Consulate Wilma           05.03.1976 –

Innocencia Luks            06/01/1986 – 1991


(Johannes Mertens, “Geschichte der Kongregation der Marienschwestern von der Unbefleckten Empfängnis“,  t. 2, s. 622-624).

Tanzania (since 1972) Part 1

Tanzania (since 1972) Part 1

Decision to do missionary work

At the General Chapter of 1963, the Polish sisters suggested that the missionary idea be given more prominence in the congregation. The topic was discussed in detail and offers from Africa and Brazil had already been received. However, the sisters were warned from various quarters against hasty deployment in an unfamiliar culture and pointed out the importance of good training and preparation. For the time being, therefore, they only included the missionary concern in the new version of the constitutions. They did not see this as a new field of work, but wanted to continue the original task of their founder, to take care of women and girls as well as people in need in the mission. The next general chapter in 1969 took up this concern again and made the decision to send sisters to Africa.



Three years later, sisters from the three Polish provinces began missionary work in Tanzania. The first station in Kilimarondo, which opened in 1972 and closed again after almost 20 years, was followed by two more in Nanjota and Chikukwe, which still exist today. In 1990 the congregation opened a novitiate, from which 15 African professed sisters emerged by 1998. In 1988, it obtained state registration, which enabled it to own the land and houses of its branches in Nanjota and Chikukwe.



The branches of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate were in different dioceses. When they were founded, the first two stations in Kilimarondo and Nanjota belonged to the Nachingwea diocese, of which the Salvatorian Father Arnold Cotey was bishop. In February 1984, Polykarp Pengo became the first local bishop to take over the Nachingwea diocese. He was ordained bishop on January 6, 1984 in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope John Paul II. During his stay in Rome he also visited the Generalate and asked for more Sisters of Mary to be sent to Tanzania. He pointed out that the problem of young women in Africa was a burning one.

In the mid-1980s, the dioceses in Tanzania were reorganized, and the Nachingwea diocese was dissolved. Kilimarondo now belonged to the diocese of Lindi, led by Bishop Maurus Libaba and since 1991 Bishop Bruno Ngonyani. Nanjota and Chikukwe belonged to the diocese of Tunduru-Masasi, which Bishop Pengo took over. In 1992 Pengo became Archbishop of Dar es Salaam and in 1998 Cardinal. Since 1992, Bishop Magnus Mwalunyungu had been the new head of his former diocese of Tunduru-Masasi.


Regional superiors

In order to represent the common concerns of the branches in Tanzania vis-à-vis the church and state authorities and to maintain contact with the general administration in Rome, a regional superior was required.

On December 8, 1990, Sister M. Viannea Parchatko was appointed Regional Superior. On July 1, 1997, after returning to Poland, Sister M. Vianneya Rogowska took over this position.


(Johannes Mertens, “Geschichte der Kongregation der Marienschwestern von der Unbefleckten Empfängnis“, Volume 2, pp. 622-624)

Third week novena

Third week novena

In today’s Gospel, the Lord Jesus will command his disciples; Let your loins be girded, and let your torches be lit. And you, be like those who are waiting for your master when he returns from the wedding feast, to open to him immediately when he comes and shakes.

Servant of God Fr. John Schneider wanted to prepare as best as possible to meet Christ when he received the sacrament of priesthood. After passing the matriculation examination at the Carolinum in Nysa, which took place on September 20, 1845, he went to study in Wrocław with 13 classmates. Only one of the high school graduates chose medical studies, the rest enrolled in theology.

In the time of our Founder, if a candidate for the priesthood wanted to enter a theological seminary, he had to first, as a layperson, graduate from theological studies. The University of Wrocław had a faculty of Catholic theology with 199 students, of course only men, and a faculty of Evangelical theology with 72 students in the academic year 1845/46. The students lived in private stations. John Schneider rented a room in Ostrów Tumski next to the church of St. Krzyża, in the tenement house at No. 9. He suffered a lot from cold. He lived with a friend in an unburned room. To warm the stove a bit, they put a candle stump in it. When the owner of the lodgings noticed this, she started to burn them in the stove at her own expense.

For three years, from 1845 to 1848, he studied theology and served as a volunteer in the 11th Grenadier Regiment in Wrocław. He used the experience gained in the army during the revolution that broke out on March 6, 1848. in Wrocław on the wave of the spring of peoples and solidarity with social movements in France and Austria. In Wrocław, there were bloody clashes with the revolutionary-minded inhabitants of the city. The speeches were left-wing and anti-clerical. During the riots, revolutionaries attacked the apartments of members of the cathedral chapter in Ostrów Tumski. It was then that John Schneider organized a team of fellow students, leading it himself, and defended the endangered canons of Wrocław against the attackers. His brave attitude won him the kindness of the members of the Wrocław chapter and his colleagues awarded him the title of “generalissimo”.

After three years of studies at the University of Wrocław, the Servant of God entered the seminary in October 1848, which at that time was called the Alumnate and was located in the place where the Archdiocese Library building stands today. Candidates for the priesthood were trained in pastoral theology, liturgy and asceticism for 9 months.

The superiors of the Students gave Father John the following opinion: “Big, healthy. sufficient talent, satisfactory zeal, satisfactory behavior, diligent character, compatible – with good will, sermons also satisfactory, catechism satisfactory ”.

During his stay in the Aluminae, John Schneider received a clerical attire, tonsure and four lower priestly orders: ostiarate, language, exorcist and acolyte, and three higher ones: sub deaconate, diaconate and presbyterate. He was ordained to the deacon by auxiliary Bishop Daniel Latusska on June 21, 1849 in the Church of St. Cross. Along with him, 38 alumni from the Archdiocese of Wrocław and 4 from the Archdiocese of Olomouc were ordained.

He was ordained a priest by the bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław, Prince Bishop Melchior von Diepenbrock on July 1, 1849 in the Church of St. Cross. The day of priestly ordination of Fr. John Schneider considered it the most important in his life. It was a day for him on which, after several years of preparation, he met his Master in the sacrament of priesthood. He was prepared for this solemn moment by difficult events, marked by material poverty, requiring great denial and faithfulness to his own life vocation.

How do I perceive the difficult events that I face in my own life? Do they prepare me to meet Christ?

Sr.M. Elżbieta Cińcio

Novena, Week Two

Novena, Week Two

At the Holy Mass that will be celebrated later, the priest, while praying the collective, will pray to God on behalf of all of us: May your grace always precede us and always accompany us, prompting our zeal to do good deeds.

The first place in everyone’s life where we have the opportunity to learn to be zealous and do good deeds is the family home. Such was also the house of the Servant of God Father John Schneider.

Our Founder was born on January 11, 1824 in Mieszkowice in the Prudnik region. Two days later he was baptized in the local branch church of St. George. He was given the names John Jerzy, which were borne by his father and his paternal grandfather. Father and godmother came from Mieszkowice, in addition, he also had another godmother from his mother Katarina’s home village, i.e. from Łąka Prudnicka.

In the Schneider house, two more sisters were born after John, so a family of five was the environment that shaped the attitude of our hero, sensitive to human poverty and hurrying to save people standing on the chasm of moral evil.

Today, on the outskirts of Mieszkowice, we will no longer see Father John’s family home. At this point, my Congregation placed a white statue of Our Lady Immaculate on a pedestal.

Catholics in Mieszkowice constituted a religious minority in relation to the local Protestants. The Catholic primary school was located in the neighboring town of Rudziczka, which also had a parish church. So the Servant of God, from the age of six, traveled two and a half kilometers each way to school every day, until he finished seven classes. He regularly served at the Holy Mass. in the church in Mieszkowice. He had a dream that was humanly impossible to realize, he wanted to serve God as a priest. It was associated with obtaining secondary and higher education. And his parents couldn’t afford to send their son to school.

Divine Providence put on his way the noble priest serving in Rudziczka, Father Antoni Hoffmann, who was concerned with helping children to get education in accordance with their abilities and fulfill their bold dreams. During his parish priesthood, he helped three boys to obtain ordination. One of them was John Schneider. The parish priest persuaded his parents to send their son to Nysa, to Carolinum and offered material help. It was a high school with traditions, graduates of which were, among others, the king of Poland, Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, son of King John III – Jakub. Our Founder spent eight years of education in Nysa on diligent learning, experiencing material shortages and serving as an altar boy in the school church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John did not have a watch and he would wake up by feeling at night to punctually at 5.00, stand at the foot of the altar and serve the Father Director of the Carolinum for the Holy Mass. More than once he stood at night for several hours with the church door closed, and the city night guard sent him back with the words: go back home , because it is only one o’clock in the morning. For the service of an altar boy he received 1 talara annually, which at that time was a payment for a farm worker for one working week.

He took the secondary school-leaving examination in 1845. It was written on the matriculation certificate that John Schneider devoted himself to all subjects with great diligence, and in what he did, you could see punctuality, a love of order and diligence. He received excellent grades in religion and mathematics. Unfortunately, his mother could not enjoy her son’s successes, because she had passed away to the Father’s House a year earlier.

John Schneider set off for Wrocław with his high school diploma in hand.

In the moment of reflection, let us ask ourselves the following questions:

What is left of my teenage dreams? Who supported me in realizing my noble desires?

Sr.M. Elżbieta Cińcio

145th anniversary of the death of our Founder

145th anniversary of the death of our Founder

This year, December 7 is the 145th anniversary of the death of Fr. John Schneider, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate. We, his spiritual daughters, wish to prepare ourselves spiritually for this anniversary by participating in the novena of the 9th Tuesday Mass. celebrated in this church for the beatification of the Founder.

Today, on the first Tuesday of the said novena, the Liturgy of the Word will invite us to Bethany, to the home of the sisters Martha and Mary who had a brother Lazarus.

Before the Eucharist, let us move our thoughts to another house, in Mieszkowice near Prudnik, where sisters Anna and Maria and their older brother John, later a priest from Wrocław and Founder of our Congregation, lived. This house is a small, thatched building at the end of Mieszkowice, but its uniqueness was not in material form, but in the family that lived in it.

It was rented by the newlyweds: Katarina and John Schneider, who 200 years ago, on September 30, 1821, in the church of St. George in Mieszkowice entered into a holy marriage. They brought sincere love and great diligence to the marriage community, thanks to which they could acquire the most necessary items from scratch and buy a rented house before their offspring were born. The father of the family was a butcher by profession, he also worked as a farm worker in the property of the parish in Rudziczka, and in winter he was engaged in weaving. He always tried to organize his work in such a way as to participate in family dinners. Before she got married, her mother, Katarina, worked for wealthy farmers as a housekeeper. After the wedding, she often supported the family budget by hiring the neighbors to do heavy seasonal work.

The firstborn son John Jerzy was born on January 11, 1824, followed by his daughter Anna Rozalia in 1827 and the youngest daughter Maria Janina in 1832.

In the Schneider family home there was a place for common conversations and for prayer in the family circle and for forgiving one another. Thus, in love, in self-denial, in a climate of material poverty, parents shaped the spiritual outlines of their children, daughters chose to marry, and the son discovered a priestly vocation in himself.

The marriage of John and Katarina Schneider survived in their vow of fidelity for 23 years. Katarina fell ill with tuberculosis and ended her earthly life in 1844. Father John Jerzy lived to a ripe old age as a widower. His own son, a priest, buried him.

The spouses Katarina and John, remaining in marital love and fidelity, fulfilled their life vocation. They brought up three children well and gave the Church a priest and a great-granddaughter – a nun, a member of our Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate.


Let us remember here our parents who passed on, to us spiritual values. Let their prayers and sacrifices bear fruit a hundredfold in our lives and may not be wasted by us.

Sr. Elżbieta Cińcio