The history of the parishes in the Diocese of Eshowe
The first Christian missionaries came to Zululand only in the middle of the 19th century, after King Mpande gave them permission (in 1856) to work in his kingdom (cf. Charles Ballard, John Dunn, Johannesburg 1985, pg. 160). By 1880 the Lutheran church had already established sixteen mission stations north of the Tugela river. The Anglican church had four. Zululand was part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Natal which was erected in 1850 and confided to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The enormous size of the vicariate and the small number of mission personnel made it difficult, if not altogether impossible, for the Oblates to send a priest to Zululand. The situation improved when Trappist monks established a monastery at Mariannhill in 1882 and became actively involved in the misson apostolate under Bishop Charles Jolivet OMI who was vicar apostolic of Natal from 1874-1903. Two Trappist monks, Fr. Gerard Wolpert (1855-1945) and Bro. Nivard Streicher (1854-1927) travelled to Zululand in 1887 to explore the possibilities of erecting a mission station. Zululand had just been through a period of great turmoil. In 1879, British forces had defeated the Zulu army at Ulundi and destroyed the royal kraal at Ondini. The humiliation of the Zulu Royal House encouraged some Zulu chiefs to pursue their own goals at the expense of the Zulu King. The ensuing civil war caused untold harm to the population and ravaged the country. When Wolpert and Streicher arrived in Eshowe, they were warned by Melmoth Osborn, the chief magistrate of Zululand, not to travel any farther. However, the two Trappists continued their journey towards Mahlabatini. Zulu scouts intercepted them near the royal kraal and forced them to abandon their mission (cf. Aufbau, pg. 50 ff.). A few years later, in 1890, Fr. Gerard Wolpert applied to the Native Affairs Department for a mission site in Zululand. The secretary of the Department replied: "I am not prepared at present either to sell or grant land in Zululand for the purpose named" (J. Brain, Catholics in Natal, 1886-1925, pg. 116). Another ten years passed before Bishop Jolivet charged an Oblate priest to begin mission work in Zululand.
The beginning of Catholic mission work in Zululand is closely connected with the person of John Dunn and his family. After the Zulu War in 1879, the British authorities appointed John Dunn (1833-1895) as the chief of a large area of Zululand north of the Tugela. Dunn was the son of a Scottish immigrant to South Africa. After being appointed chief, he built himself a residence at Emoyeni near the Indian Ocean, some fifty kilometres north of the Tugela river. He adopted the Zulu custom of 'lobolo' (paying money to the father of the bride), married forty-nine wives and had one hundred and seventeen recorded children. Dunn was not well disposed towards missionaries. They criticized him for deviating from a European lifestyle, especially by marrying a great number of African women. Dunn, on the other hand, thought that Christianity would undermine the social system of the Zulus in which he, being himself a chief, had a vested interest. In a letter, written in 1877 to the Aborigines Protection Society, he pointed out:
"....Nothing but forced Christianity or civilization will spoil the Zulus, and the class of foreign missionaries we have in the country does more injury than good to them. Let them say what they like in their reports to the societies, they make no convert to their faith, besides the pretended ones of vagabonds, who imagine that by being clothed and under the garb of Christianity they will be exempt from all king's service and laws of the country, and be allowed to roam about and do as they please" (Ballard, John Dunn, pg. 173).
In spite of his antipathy towards missionaries, Dunn realized that he would have to rely on the services of missionaries to provide some basic education for his children. For this reason he invited Henrietta Samuelson, the daughter of Reverend Sivert Martin Samuelson, a Norwegian Lutheran missionary, to come to Emoyeni and instruct his children. Henrietta answered John Dunn's plea and acted as family teacher for several years in the early 1880s (cf. Ballard, John Dunn, pg. 168). However, much more had to be done to ensure a solid education and Christian upbringing of the many children. John Dunn therefore approached, towards the end of his life, the resident commissioner of Zululand, Sir Marshall Clarke, to arrange for missionaries to come to Emoyeni. Dunn died on August 5, 1895. Shortly afterwards, the Catholic chaplain to the British forces in Natal, Fr. William Patrick Murray O.M.I. (18551932), visited the garrison in Eshowe and was invited to dinner by the resident commissioner. It was on this occasion that Sir Marshall Clarke talked about John Dunn's wish to have his children educated by missionaries. Years later, Fr. Murray referred to this conversation in a letter to Fr. Ignatius Jutz):
"...Three or four months after John Dunn's death I was lunching at the Residency, Eshowe, when Sir Marshall asked me if I could do anything, in the way of schooling, for the numerous children of the late John Dunn. He had tried the other Missionaries (i.e. Protestant missionaries) in Zululand but none of them would undertake the work as these children were all coloured and they wished only to deal with the Zulu proper. I said I had no objection to undertake the work, but, on the contrary, would be very pleased to do so. He was delighted and expressed his thanks adding: 'I will help in every way in my power for you have relieved me, and when I say me I mean the Government, of a great responsibility,' or words to that effect. I asked that someone, a magistrate by preference, should come with me the following day to Emoyeni to interview the chief wife of John Dunn and fix up matters, as it would be useless for me to go alone, for she most likely would not believe I came with the Resident Commissioner's consent and expressed wish but she would believe if a magistrate came with us. This was agreed to and a magistrate was sent with me. I think the magistrate's name was Hignett, now a Judge of the Native High Court...As a result of our interview it was arranged to turn one of the buildings (of Dunn's residence at Emoyeni) into a school and the Government undertook to do this. When this was ready some sisters (nuns) and a priest arrived to start the mission, I think it was two or three months after, and all went on well and the Resident Commissioner was very pleased and thankful. This he told me at our next interview." (Letter of Fr. William Patrick Murray O.M.I. to Fr. Ignatius Jutz, 61126)
When Bishop Jolivet heard about this development, he ordered Fr. Murray to contact the Dunn family at Emoyeni and make the necessary arrangements for the arrival of a priest. After discussing the issue at length with the wives of John Dunn, Fr. Murray sent the following letter to Sir Marshall Clarke (The original draft is in the W.P. Murray File at the Archdiocesan Archives, Durban):
7th November, 1895
The Resident Commissioner
Sir M. Clarke
I have the honour to inform you that on the 5th inst. I had an interview, at Moyeni, with Nontombi, wife of the late John Dunn with reference to a proposed Mission and School at the above named place. She has consented to the proposal and I now try to make a formal application to your Honour for the necessary permission to commence such work. I may mention that it is the intention of His Lordship, D. Charles Jolivet, my Bishop, to place there a Priest and three or four Sisters who will take in hand the education of the children at Moyeni and the surrounding district.
I had a long conversation with Mrs. Dunn and the Moyeni women in connection with the proposed Mission at the Moyeni. Mrs. Dunn could only promise that the children of two of the women who live at the Emangete, would attend the School, but Nontombi who spoke for the rest of the women was delighted at the prospect of having their children's education continued, but they did not like the word 'Mission Station', so I explained to them that it would be quite different to the other Mission Stations and would be more an Industrial School, where the girls would be taught sewing, housework, as well as reading and writing; and the boys useful trades. They are afraid, as they say, of the Stations, as they will have to work and feed the Missionary, and their fields will be taken from them. I told them that they need not fear this, so Nontombi said, she would lend the School (there are three rooms attached which I think would do for the Nuns) and also the Priest could have the use of an outbuilding. Although they all seemed pleased at the idea, I fear there are many difficulties to be met, the mothers have not the influence over their children as other Native mothers have, as Dunn showed his children that he considered them superior to their mothers, and they naturally now look down upon their mothers and so it will be difficult to get the children to attend School, more especially the boys, who have all been left cattle, and at present consider themselves independent. Those Priests and Nuns who are sent would have to be very careful at first, not to interfere with the women's ways, as that is what they are afraid of. That "their rights will be taken away from them if the place is made a Mission," they say but if only for a school they "will not be afraid".
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
Fr. W.P. Murray OMI
Sir Marshall Clarke seemed quite pleased with this course of events and gave his formal permission for the commencement of Catholic mission work in Zululand in a letter, dated November 11, 1895:
11th November 1895
In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, applying for permission to commence Mission work at Moyene, and informing me that it is the wish of His Lordship Bishop Jolivet to place a Priest and three or four Sisters there, who will undertake the education of the children I have the honour to inform you that I accede with pleasure to your request .
Mr. Barker, the Assistant Resident Magistrate of the Umlalaas Division, informs me that the women belonging to the late Chief John Dunn's household, that now live at Moyene, are anxious to have their children educated, but do not like the idea of a Mission Station, associated as it is in their minds with a claim for lands, established in their immediate neighbourhood; they are, however, prepared to find a shelter for the Priest and to give up for the use of the Sisters a school room and some small rooms.
The drawback to the situation for Mission work appears to Mr. Barker to be the same as suggested itself to you, the absence of Natives residing in the immediate neighbourhood.
Mr. Barker recommends that the Mission should at first be quite independent of and not rely on support from the Moyene people; this I understand is the intention of His Lordship.
I have the honour to be,
Your Obedient Servant,
(signed) M. Clarke
November 11, 1895, the date when the resident commissioner of Zululand formally agreed that Catholic missionaries begin their work at Emoyeni is remembered as the foundation day of the Catholic Church at Emoyeni and thus the beginning of the Catholic Church in Zululand. Bishop Jolivet assigned Fr. Anselme Rousset (1862-1938) to go to Zululand. Fr. Rousset arrived there at the beginning of November, 1895 (cf. Fr. Rousset's remark on a letter, written to him by Fr. Ignatius Jutz on 281026). A little later, Bishop Jolivet referred to the new mission venture in a letter, saying:
"Fr. Anselme Rousset is in Zululand and occupied in founding a new mission in which he is guided and powerfully aided by Fr. Murray, especially in his relations with the English authorities there. The principal government agent in Zululand is the same Sir M. Clarke with whom I had such friendly relations especially when he was a prisoner-of-war with me at Potchefstroom" (Rousset File, letter of 30-11-1895).
Fr. Rousset was allowed to live in the house which used to be John Dunn's residence. Another building served as the chapel and the school. Fr. Rousset himself taught the children until the arrival of three Dominican sisters from Oakford. They came to Emoyeni just before Christmas 1895. The chronicle of Emoyeni reports: "Fr. Rousset celebrated Christmas 1895 together with the three sisters and numerous mothers and children from the Dunn family" (chronicle of Mangete, 1953-1954, pg. 170). An Oblate brother, Alexandre Boudon, joined Fr. Rousset shortly afterwards. The sisters found a temporary home in a corrugated iron shed and began teaching the Dunn children. Fr. Anselme could now concentrate entirely on pastoral work, visiting families and instructing catechumens. The first Catholic baptism at Emoyeni, and indeed the first one in Zululand, was recorded on May 10, 1896. The first of the Dunn children to be received into the Catholic Church was Catherine. She was baptized in November 1896. This was done so that she could be godmother for the others at the big baptism ceremony which followed later when a great number of Dunn's children received the sacrament of baptism together with their mothers. Altogether sixteen of the forty-nine wives of John Dunn and sixty-eight of his one hundred and nineteen children were baptized in the Catholic Church (chronicle of Mangete, 1953-1954, pg. 166-167. At the time of John Dunn's death in 1895, thirteen of his wives lived at Emoyeni, five at Ungoye and five at Mangete. They had, together, thirty-three sons and forty-six daughters (Ballard, John Dunn, pg. 241).
Fr. Florian Hessing (1901-1962) who worked for nine years among the Dunn descendants, compiled a history of the Dunn family (cf. chronicle of Mangete, 1953-1954, pg. 166-167). According to that history:
68 of the 119 children in the 1st generation were Catholics;
246 of the 397 children in the 2nd generation were Catholics;
246 of the 476 children of the 3rd generation were Catholics;
By 1954, the Dunn clan numbered 1 123 members of which 672 belonged to the Catholic Church.
There were also a few African Catholics in the Emoyeni area at the turn of the century. Most of them had been baptized and educated by Mariannhill Missionaries or had joined the Church while they were working in Durban. The small community of Catholics gathered at John Dunn's residence every Sunday for Mass.
John Dunn's homestead was not an ideal site for a mission. Apart from the fact that the place did not belong to the missionaries, it was also overcrowded with Dunn's large family. "The priest and nuns had no place of their own and the Natives were not allowed to come to the school," explained Fr. Patrick Murray in a letter (letter of Fr. P. Murray to Fr. Ignatius Jutz, 61126). There were also a few African Catholics in the Emoyeni area at the turn of the century. Most of them had been baptized and educated by Mariannhill Missionaries or had joined the Church while they were working in Durban. They, too, wanted their children to be educated at the mission, but the Dunn family objected to it.
Fr. Rousset therefore tried to find another place where he could establish a proper mission. After discussing the issue with Nontombi, one of Dunn's favourite wives, he was given a property on a hill, a few kilometres to the west of the Dunn homestead. Fr. Rousset celebrated the first Mass there on September 14, 1897, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, but it took a few more months before the necessary buildings were erected at Entabeni (Zulu for "the place on the hill"). The missionaries moved to the new place in November 1897 (cf. TT 20-06-22) and called it Holy Cross. Soon afterwards Fr. Rousset began accepting Zulu children into the mission school. "The Dunns, who were very proud of their race, regarded this as an insult," notes the chronicler. "Therefore they sent all their children to Genezzano, near Durban, where the Oakford Dominican Sisters had opened a school for Coloureds" (chronicle of Mangete, 1953-1954, pg. 170).
The transfer of the mission from Emoyeni to Entabeni was the result of an amicable arrangement between the Dunn family and Fr. Rousset. Nontombi Dunn donated the mission site by verbal agreement. It did not seem necessary to survey the land or to issue title-deeds. The background to the deal is explained in a letter which Fr. P. Murray wrote to Fr. Ignatius Jutz:
"A piece of land was given by Mrs. Nontombi, the chief wife of John Dunn, for the Mission, some forty or fifty acres, and this was confirmed by the Resident Commissioner. At that time, Mrs. Nontombi, as the chief wife of John Dunn, owned some miles of land in and around Emoyeni, and consequently could do as she liked, in any case, as far as giving land for a Mission was concerned. Sir Marshall Clarke said so to me and hence had no hesitation in confirming the grant." (Letter of Fr. William Patrick Murray O.M.I. to Fr. Ignatius Jutz, 61126).
The missionaries regarded thirty acres as their property (cf. letter of Fr. James Gerstner to the Apostolic Delegate, B.J. Gijlswijk, 29-10-26) and used it for planting crops. However, the exact size of the Entabeni Mission Property was never clearly spelt out in writing. Enquiries at the magistrate's office at Mtunzini showed that there were no records of a land-transfer to the missionaries. However, the magistrates were always sympathetic towards the missionaries and seemed to look at this land-deal as a fait accompli, achieved by oral agreement (cf. "History of Entabeni Mission", Inkamana Archives). Nonetheless, the lack of proper documentation encouraged some members of the Dunn clan at a later stage to lay claim to the land. Alois and Luis Dunn, two of John Dunn's sons, intended building a house on the mission site but Edward, Nontombi's son, intervened on behalf of the Oblate Missionaries and did not allow his half-brothers to settle near the mission. When the Benedictines took over the mission station from the Oblates in 1924, they tried to clarify the matter with the help of the local magistrate. Catherine Dunn, the daughter of Nontombi, had an important rôle to play in this connection. She spelt out the intention of her mother in a letter, addressed to the magistrate of Mtunzini:
October 1, 1926
"I think it is most important to renew the donation made by our (late) mother, Nontombi Dunn, to the Missionary Father A. Rousset OMI (at the) time when he wanted to establish his mission...(He) came to our house...after our (late) father (had) died...and lived with us for two years, doing all the best he could do, as a priest in charge. And it was all very good. As his work was improving, he wanted to put up his own mission somewhere else...He wanted to ask the government to grant him a piece of land (which) he liked and thought suitable for the mission. So he asked to see (my) mother about it. When he spoke to her about this, she would not hear (about) it. (She) said (to him that) it would be very hard for us to attend school and church, as the spot he pointed out was out of the way, (on) the other side of (the) Uyezane river....Then she asked him if he would not accept the piece of land where the mission stands now. There it was not very far for us to attend school and church. So he changed his mind and said it was alright, he would have the piece of land which (my) mother offered to him. It was then approved by the Magistrate. So he started his Mission without...troubles and got on very well...Troubles started afterwards...(and) have caused...things to get into such a muddle...The new Missionaries (i.e. the Benedictines) find it very hard indeed to put up with all the troubles. Therefore I humbly beg... (you) to approve of this (land-deal) and see (to it) that the Missionaries live as before, and let no one...disturb them.
The piece of land our late mother gave to them was well fenced. (It was used) by our (late) father as a garden and now our mother's grave (is) in the same ground. (She) was most interested in the work of the missionaries.
So I hope the District Magistrate will pay urgent attention to these (matters), and protect the (interests of the) missionaries.
(signed) Catherine Dunn."
In 1926, Fr. Ignatius Jutz was able to report to Bishop Spreiter what Fr. Rousset had to say about the land-deal:
"He (Fr. Rousset) was quite willing to answer all my questions. He told me the whole history of the foundation. When I showed him the written statement of Catherine he agreed that the statement was genuine. Catherine's mother really donated the land, but only by verbal agreement. Documents do not exist" (letter of Fr. Ignatius Jutz to Bishop Spreiter, 251026).
Thorough investigations showed that the mission site at Entabeni "officially" only comprised ten acres (cf. letter of Fr. Ignatius Jutz to the Commissioner of Native Affairs, 23-08-26). On the advice of the local magistrate, the Benedictines submitted an application to be granted a further twenty-five acres. They were successful with their petition. At the end of 1927, Fr. Ignatius was able to inform Bishop Spreiter:
"Our efforts have not been in vain. We have now definitely been granted thirty-five acres for our (Entabeni) mission" (letter of Fr. Ignatius Jutz to Bishop Spreiter, 05-12-27).
By the turn of the century, the Entabeni Mission consisted of a few simple buildings. The school-chapel, built by Bro. Alexandre Boudon in 1897, was fourteen by five metres long; the sisters' convent measured 8 x 5 metres. There was also a hut for the priests and brothers, a stable for the horse, a shed for the oxen, another one for the wagon and two dormitories, one for boys and one for girls (cf. J. Brain, Father Anselme Rousset and the Zululand Mission, Manuscript pg. 10 and pg. 15). The Oblates spent about £ 5000 in the first ten years to build up the Holy Cross Mission, but in the eyes of some priests it was still "the least presentable" of all the Oblate missions (ibid. pg. 12). The pastoral work which the Oblates were doing in Zululand seemed to have been quite successful. The Catholic congregation at Emoyeni grew steadily and in order to accommodate it, the school-chapel had to be enlarged twice, the first time by Fr. van der Laenen around 1915, and the second time by Fr. Hanon in 1923 (cf. letter of three sub-chiefs and a catechist to the Apostolic Delegate, 06-02-27). It was Fr. Rousset's intention to erect a proper church. To achieve this goal he started a fund-raising campaign among the local Christians and among his friends overseas. However, the Oblates left Emoyeni before the plan could be executed.
Emoyeni is situated in the Mtunzini district. When the new Prefecture Apostolic of Zululand was established in 1921 and handed over to the Benedictines of St. Ottilien, it did not include the four southern districts of Zululand, i.e. Mtunzini, Eshowe, Nkandla and Nqutu. This meant that the Emoyeni Mission remained a station of the Oblates under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Natal. However, Rome changed the borders on December 13, 1923. The four southern districts with the two Oblate missions (Emoyeni and Mbongolwane) now formed part of the enlarged territory. Early in 1924, the Oblates handed both stations over to the Benedictines.
Educating John Dunn's children was one of the main reasons why the Oblates started a mission at Emoyeni. Dominican Sisters of Oakford and, later, French Franciscan Sisters taught the children. At first they gave all their attention to the so-called coloured children (i.e. descendants of John Dunn), but soon they also provided basic education for black children. This remained so even after visitators from Europe seemed to have encouraged them to concentrate their efforts on the so-called Coloureds. Spreiter heard about this later and remarked in his diary: "Women of the Dunn family told us that the sisters withdrew from the Africans after an official visitation from Europe had taken place (TT 18-01-25). Apart from the primary school the sisters were also running a so-called industrial school (where the pupils learnt to make baskets etc.). In mid-1922 there were eight sisters at Emoyeni (TT 20-06-22).
When the Benedictines took over Emoyeni on February 18, 1924, the school had an enrolment of fifty black children, twenty of whom were boarders. Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing were now responsible for the school. On August 1, 1928, they opened a primary school for Coloureds, the St. Mary's College. Later the Benedictine Sisters opened another school for coloured children in Eshowe where the climate was much healthier. It led to the closure of the St. Mary's College at Emoyeni in December 1934. The school for black children remained at Emoyeni and was gradually expanded. It opened a Std. 5 class in 1946 and began with a Std. 9 class in 1962. The school was handed over to the government in 1977.
Soon after the Benedictine missionaries arrived at Emoyeni they began to erect new buildings. Their most ambitious project was a large church. Bro. Paul Meiller (18961954), who was stationed at Emoyeni from 1927 to 1954, drew up the plans and built it. The foundations were already laid in April 1930, but lack of funds slowed down the building activities and brought them to a complete standstill in December 1931. "The sisters then went to the surrounding farms begging for money," reports the chronicle (cf. THE CATHOLIC CIRCLE, Feb. 1965). The response was not bad and Bro. Paul was able to continue with the building. The first Mass was celebrated in the church on Christmas Eve 1932, but it took another two years before the building was completed. Bishop Thomas Spreiter (together with Archabbot Chrysostomus Schmid) consecrated the church on September 15, 1935. It was the first properly consecrated Catholic church in Zululand. THE NATAL MERCURY (19-09-35) carried the following report on the consecration:
"On Sunday, September 15, the beautiful new church at the Roman Catholic Mission Entabeni near Gingindlovu was consecrated by his Excellency the Right Rev. Bishop Thomas Spreiter, the Head of the Benedictine Fathers and at present in charge of the Vicariate of Eshowe.
The mission at Entabeni was established many years ago by the Rev. Father Rousset attached to the Natal Vicariate...However, in 1924...the Oblate Fathers and Franciscan Nuns, who had laboured and done splendid work for the Coloured and Native people near them at Emoyeni, returned to Durban.
With the growing congregations the little church was in time inadequate, and in 1928 the decision was made to build a new church, the foundation stone being laid in August 1930. Slowly since that time the church has been bult by the Brothers of the Mission, the plan being to the design of the Rev. Bro. Paulus, who, along with Father Jacob and Brother Vitalis, also painted the huge building.
Built in stone, the main building is intended to accommodate 800 Natives, while the two side chapels are for European and Coloured use, and together find space for another 150 people...
Special mention must be made of the late Mr. Leon Renaud and Mr. W.W. Desplace, who were generous benefactors in the building of the church, while the beautiful marble altar was the gift of Mr. Felix Piccione, of Umhlatuzi, in memory of his son Patrick."
The Emoyeni Mission School, which catered for black pupils, had to accommodate more and more children each year. By 1935 it became clear that the old wood-and-iron building was no longer suitable. A large new school was built in 1937/38 under the direction of Bro. Blasius Brummer. The next major project was a new convent which Bro. Paul Meiller completed in 1946. Finally, Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri gave the green light for the building of a two-storey house to accommodate the priests and brothers. It was designed by architect Mark Hussey of Pretoria and was ready for occupation in 1961. When the mission church was in need of a thorough renovation, Bishop Bilgeri entrusted the task to Mark Hussey, who removed the tiny bell-turret on the roof of the church and replaced it with a tall, iron-concrete belfry. The church was simultaneously revamped inside to create the right surroundings for the liturgical renewal in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The whole project was completed in 1965.
The Holy Cross Mission has a beautiful little grotto with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was built by Bro. Paul Meiller and solemnly blessed by Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri on November 1, 1947. The chronicle of Emoyeni (1939-1949, pg. 9) explains why the grotto was built:
"The initiative to build the grotto came from Bro. Paul. The administrator of the vicariate, Fr. Theodos Schall, did not hesitate to give his permission. The opening of the grotto marks the fulfillment of a promise made by our Bishop Thomas Spreiter at the outbreak of the War. He vowed to erect such a shrine in honour of Our Lady if our missions remained unharmed by the War. Now that we have all luckily survived the War, the grotto is meant to be a sign of our gratitude to our Mother in heaven who always helps."
The Holy Cross Mission at Emoyeni has been staffed by members of different religious orders in its long history. Oblates of Mary Immaculate looked after the mission from November 1895 to February 1924. They were followed by Benedictine Missionaries of St. Ottilien who worked there until January 1960. Franciscan Friars of the Bavarian Province then took over from them. They eventually amalgamated with Franciscans of other Provinces to form a new South African Province. Its members still (1994) do pastoral work in the Holy Cross Parish and they use the mission facilities to train postulants for the Franciscan Province of South Africa. The Emoyeni Mission has also witnessed the services of several communities of sisters. The first to work at Emoyeni were Dominican Sisters from Oakford. In May 1897 they were replaced by French Franciscan Sisters who stayed at Emoyeni until February 1924. Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing took over from them and remained at the Holy Cross Mission until September 1967. Then came Benedictine Sisters of Twasana who worked in the clinic, the school and the parish of Holy Cross Mission from July 1960 until April 1980. After their departure the mission was left without sisters.
When the Benedictines took over Emoyeni in February 1924, the parish had about 700 Catholics. By the time they left the station in January 1960, their number had increased to about 3000. In 1994 the parish had about 4300 Catholics.
Parish Priests of Emoyeni
Assistant Priests at Emoyeni
Brothers at Emoyeni
Emoyeni High School
Emoyeni Primary School
This page was last updated on 24.10.06 17:51:36