Mariannhill in Zambia
Today Mariannhill missions are full of life and flourishing in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The work of the Mariannhillers in Zambia began in 1982, exactly 100 years after Abbot Francis started Mariannhill. Fr. Ivo Burkhardt left Mariannhill in South Africa and became a teacher of religion at Kasama Boy’s Secondary School in the Diocese of Kasama, which is in the Northern Province. Some boys soon showed great interest in joining Mariannhill. There was indeed a promising harvest of vocations and in 1985 the General Chapter agreed to start a Mariannhill community in the Archdiocese of Kasama.
This was based at St. Margaret’s Parish, Mungwi, 25 km from Kasama Town. In February 1990 the first two Zambians entered the Novitiate in Mariannhill, South Africa. Later a House of Formation was established at Kasembo Farms in Kasama. After finishing their Novitiate in Mariannhill, candidates pursued their philosophical and theological studies at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute, Cedara near Pietermaritzburg. But this practice has since stopped as they now do their philosophical and theological studies at St. Bonaventure’s and St. Dominic’s, a national Major Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia.
The first Zambian priest, Fr Aaron Chituta was ordained on the 4th January 1997. Meanwhile Zambia has become a fully-fledged province of its own with several houses: the postulancy is in Kasama, at Kasembo farms and there are two houses in Makeni and Woodlands, both in Lusaka. These are houses of formation, the former for philosophy and the latter for theology, as well as for the brothers who are doing some studies in various trades and professions.
At present there are a good number of Zambian brothers either in temporary or final profession, in postulancy and in the novitiate each year. Several Mariannhill priests from various countries work in Zambia together with a growing number of Zambian priests.