TANZANIA: Consolata Missionary Sisters Celebrate 100 Years Of Missionary Zeal


MBEYA, FEBRUARY 14, 2023 (CISA) On January 30, 2023, accompanied by hundreds of religious men and women, and a multitude of clergy and Christians, the Consolata  Missionary Sisters celebrated a centenary of Mission presence in Tanzania.  The colourful celebration was presided over by Most Rev Gervas Nyaisonga, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mbeya, assisted by Rt Rev Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa of Iringa and Rt Rev Salutaris Melchior Libena of Ifakara. Also present was Fr Erastus Mgalama, the Regional Superior of the Consolata Missionaries in Tanzania.

The celebration was preceded by a whole year of animation and awareness, especially in the dioceses where the first sisters evangelized and in the five dioceses they are present today.

In his homily, Bishop Ngalalekumtwa thanked and praised the Consolata Missionary Sisters for the work of evangelization accomplished in the Catholic Diocese of Iringa and many other parts of the country. He noted that it was their openness to the Holy Spirit and missionary zeal that the first group embarked on the long journey from Italy, with no plan of ever going back. He also praised all the young Tanzanian Consolata Missionary Sisters who have courageously followed in the footsteps of these first missionaries and today, are missionaries in different parts of the world i.e Djibouti, Mongolia, Kirghizstan and Brazil.

On December 8, 1922, the first Consolata Missionary Sisters left Turin for Tanganyika: Sr Francesca Gianasso, Sr Delfina Vaisitti, Sr Marcellina Bianchi, and Sr Clementina Cristino. They were joined on the ship, in Mombasa, by two sisters from the Vicariate of Kenya: Sr Paolina Bertino and Sr Lucia Monti.

On January 10, 1923, they arrived in Dar-es-Salaam and five days later continued by railroad to Dodoma. After four hours of walking they reached Bihawana from where, on January 22, together with some Consolata Missionary Fathers, they began the caravan that would take them to Tosamaganga, where they arrived on January 30. Since then, 100 years have passed!

“The beginnings contain a special grace, which on an important anniversary like this we are invited to revisit. It is the grace of bright, humble, simple beginnings, marked by essentiality, smallness, sincere charity, intense prayer, intimate joy, and the spirit of loving sacrifice that gives meaning to the difficulties experienced, of good done well without noise. It is a grace that, after 100 years, still calls each one of us, from the depths of our hearts to fidelity to this discreet, deep, humble, intense style of Mission, marked by the gift of Consolation,” said Mother Simona Brambilla, the Superior General of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in her message to crown the day.

“What is the point of celebrating this Centenary? What are we celebrating? Whom are we celebrating?… Let us celebrate, brothers and sisters, the God of Mission, the God who is constantly on pilgrim, on a journey, “going forth” to seek and reach out to his creatures and to envelop them in the embrace of his tender, strong and merciful Love. In this centenary, let us not celebrate ourselves, Consolata Missionaries, but He, the Source of Mission, who by His goodness, by His immense gift, involves us in the movement of His Love,” she quipped.

With a heart full of gratitude, she thanked the Lord for his tender and faithful love towards all of us, our  Mother Consolata, the Foundress of the Consolata family who protects the missionaries under her mantle and who, with them and through them, has been visiting, blessing and consoling the people of Tanzania for a hundred years. She also thanked the Founder Blessed Allamano, a loving Father to the Institute who continues to walk with his missionaries in many parts of the world and everyone for journeying with the Consolata Missionary Sisters in preparation for the great celebration.