In 1992, Bishop Deogratias visited our Motherhouse in Rome requesting sister educators for his diocese of Hoima in Uganda, East Africa. The then superior general, Sister Mary Joell Overman asked the four United States provincials if there was any interest in this project. As a response to this call the provinces in the United States considered the challenge. In 1993 Sister Mary Amy Hauck of California asked Sister Mary Margaret Droege of Covington to partner together to do research on this endeavor. After many visits to Uganda and negotiations with the Bishop, both provinces decided to prepare and send two missionaries each to lay the foundation for an unknown future. The area of Buseesa was chosen as an area of need in Uganda. During the past twenty years these two provinces have provided missionaries and monetary support to build three schools, formation houses, living space for about 500 boarders as well as farmlands to support this mission venture in Uganda. Sisters from three other provinces have also contributed to this mission.
Between May 14 and July 13, 2016, nine Ugandan Sisters of Notre Dame have been able to visit the sisters of the provinces that have supported them, their education and training over these many years. The first group to come included Sister Mary Juliet Atugonza, Sister Violet Marie Katwesige, Sister Anita Marie Kyolimpa and Sister Mary Sunday Kusemererwa. All of these sisters have been with the sisters from five to ten years and all are teachers in Buseesa or Mpala. Sister Mary Sunday is a graduate of Nkunba University in Uganda. The other three sisters are one year professed and will soon go back for further studies.
Sisters in the second group are students at various universities. We will welcome Sister Mary Immaculate Namuga, one of the formators, Sister Mary Annet Namaakula, Sister Christina Marie Mugume, Sister Mary Olive Katusiime and Sister Mary Teopista Nabugwawo. Sister Mary Teopista is a St. Julie Mission School graduate from P 1 through high school!
Most of these young women first heard about the Sisters for Notre Dame from Vocation Promotion talks given in their local schools. These women come from homes at great distances from Buseesa and felt attracted to the sisters’ lifestyle when they learned of their charism of proclaiming God’s goodness to others. Their families have been supportive of their choice of religious life.
When asked about the impact of their visit Sister Mary Sunday responded, “We are so grateful for the work and support of the SND’s and their friends for our formation and education. This visit has been very enriching, widened our horizons and giving us a global view. The experience of visiting Sister Maria Aloysia’s grave has helped us live what we have been learning.” For those of us at home in the US, this visit has greatly encouraged us as we appreciate the fruit of our initial venture of sending missionaries to Africa back in 1993.