Photo courtesy of Sr. Marie-Luise Faupel, O.P.
We are extremely happy to announce that the Oakford Dominican Sisters have opened a new mission house in Bloemfontein, South Africa! Early last year, Congregational Prioress, Sr. Paula-Mary Van der Walt, and South African Congregational Councillor, Sr. Cecilia Smit, engaged in conversations with the Archbishop of the Diocese of Bloemfontein as well as, Fr. Patrick Towe, OMI, of the Central Province of South Africa to discern such a venture.
Fr. Patrick expressed that his hope was to expand chaplaincy services at a local provincial health and education center in Bloemfontein and to develop a student center on campus for faith formation and leadership development, with special attention given to female students. The Archbishop offered to make a house available for a community to live and work there and four of our Sisters agreed to take on the assignment.
On June 1st, 2015, the following Sisters arrived at Bloemfontein to comprise the new international Oakford community there: Sr. Bernadette Zulu (South Africa - Zulu), Sr. Pru Cooper (England), Sr. Anna-Lucia Wannemacher (Germany), and Sr. Eva-Maria Thupatsogong (South Africa – Tswana). An opening mass of celebration was held on Saturday, June 20th, with nine Oakford Sisters present as well as sisters from other local communities, Oratorian priests, and special guests Debbie and Abel Feldman who helped to prepare the house for the Sisters. The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo, OMI, Fr. Rikaki and Fr. Gracious, with whom the Sisters will be working quite closely. We wish these Sisters many blessings as they embark in this new mission together.