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)