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Peramiho Priory


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  • Peramiho Priory  / Tanzania

    Our oldest African priory, PERAMIHO, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. Out of the difficult beginnings and the blood of the first martyrs a flourishing native Church developed, richly blessed with many vocations. Native bishops, priests and religious continue the work of the German missionaries in their own culture. The large mission compounds include the towering church, monasteries of the monks and sisters, a hospital, diverse schools, workshops, business offices, farms and whatever is necessary to live and work in the African interior.

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    History of Peramiho Priory

    the Cross in Pugu

    Prioress Sr. Ruth Bartonico in front of the Cross in Pugu

    Our first four sisters arrived in "Deutsch Ostafrika" (later called "Tanganyika") in 1888

    under the leadership of Fr. Bonifatius Fleschutz. In spite of great deprivations and diseases their missionary efforts in Pugu proved to be fruitful. However, on January 13, 1889, the mission was destroyed by Arab-incited rebels.

    Our Sr. Martha Wansing and two brothers were murdered. Sr. Benedicta Sivering was taken captive and released in March after a heavy ransom was paid.

    The Pugu rebellion only enhanced the desire of the German sisters to return to African soil to bring the Good News. In 1889 a new foundation was made in Dar es Salaam. Later, in 1901, the first four sisters came to Peramiho. With true missionary zeal, they bore the difficulties of the climate, disease, language and culture. They started immediately a "hospital" and school.

    Early school

    Early school

    People before S Maria and S Joseph

    People before St Maria and St Joseph

    However, tragedy descended upon the community once again, this time in the "Maji Maji Uprising" of 1905. Sr. Felicitas Hiltner and Sr. Cordula Ebert were en-route to their new assignment in Kigonsera (Peramiho Priory) when they were murdered along with Bishop Cassian Spiss and two other monks. Hearing rumors of the rebels nearing Peramiho, the missionaries fled. The mission was attacked and destroyed.

    Never to be stopped, within two years the missionaries returned to Peramiho with new vigor and confidence in God's help. Yet, once again, during World War I, under British occupation, the missionaries were taken prisoners to South Africa and were later repatriated to the Mother House.

    Finally, in 1923 three non-German sisters were allowed to return to Peramiho. By 1926 the Germans were allowed back and a steady influx of new missionaries came to build up the mission. There was an intense need at this time for well-trained personnel to open the Teacher Training School and Trade School according to the rules of the British government.

    Early Years - Outstation

    Early Years - Outstation

    Twelve outstations were founded under the first Prioress,Sr. Ermenilde Morrisey.

    In 1933 Peramiho Priory was officially established under Abbot-Bishop Gallus Steiger. The priory grew to nearly 100 sisters.

    Middle School Early years later PGSS

    Middle School in Early Years, which became later Peramiho Girls' Secondary School

    Middle School for Girls - Making Pots

    Middle School for Girls - Making Pots

    Already in these early years, many of the native girls expressed their desire to become sisters. It was decided to help them found their own community. The girls were taught by our sisters and had their first convent on our compound. This was the birth of the Congregation of St. Agnes (often referred to as "The Chipole Sisters") which has grown to be over 700 members today.

    1930's Flourishing Faith

    1930's Flourishing Faith

    World War II brought its own challenges. However, the prudent negotiations of Abbot Gallus made it possible for the missionaries to remain in Peramiho but with many restrictions. No letters, goods, money, or new sisters could be received from Germany. This added to the hardship of their already difficult situation.

    By the 1950s fewer and fewer missionaries could be sent from the Mother House and the hardships of missionary life became burdensome for many of the senior sisters. It became impossible to keep up all the outstations. One mission after another was handed over to the Chipole Sisters. However, as our congregation also developed, new missionaries were sent, first from the Philippines and later from other countries. In the early 60s a strong political independence movement began in the country and Tanganyika became independent under Julius Nyerere. The name of the country was eventually changed to Tanzania.

    Former Chapel

    Former Chapel

    In 1969 the Peramiho local Church received its first African bishop: Bishop James Komba. Many of our schools and institutions were nationalized. However, uncertainty of the political situation lingered heavily and in 1973 the sisters were invited to follow the monks to establish a new foundation in Kenya in case they would have to flee once again the Peramiho mission.

    Sr. Tetwigis teaching in the then new Nursing School

    Sr. Tetwigis teaching in the then new Nursing School

    This little sprout developed well into our Sacred Heart Priory in Nairobi.

    In the 1980s a "New Chapter" began in the Peramiho Priory history when the first African candidates were received.

    Sr. Agape and orphan child

    Sr. Agape and orphan child

    Sr. Gloria and patient

    Sr. Gloria with a Patient

    This hopeful step was initiated by our far-sighted Prioress, M. Isentrud Lehner. Our first candidates were sent to Nairobi for formation. By the concerted efforts of Prioress M. Pia Portmann and the help of Filipino missionaries, in the year 2000 Peramiho Priory developed its own formation program. To this day, there is a steady increase of new members into the community. As of 1 January 2015 the community numbers 45 final professed sisters, 10 junior professed sisters, 7 novices, 12 postulants and 2 aspirants. With the renewed hope and vigor of new members, ministries could be strengthened and new ministries established.

    Secondary School Math Day 2014

    Secondary School Math Day 2014

    Uwemba cooking school

    Uwemba Cooking School

    At this time the sisters are engaged in the following ministries. Peramiho: " Peramiho Girls Secondary and High School, six levels " Dressmaking and electrical vocational schools (owned by the monks) " St. Joseph Mission Hospital and Nursing School (owned by the monks) " St. Martin's Hostel for girls attending government schools.

    " Non-Institutional ministries, bible groups, Small Christian Communities, social-pastoral teaching Uwemba: " St. Anna's Health Center, Outpatient Department, and Orphanage "

    Four orphan children

    Four Orphan Children

    Leper from Morogoro Village

    Woman suffering from the Late Effects of Leprosy in Morogoro Village

    St. Raphael's Vocational Training School for sewing and cooking Morogoro: " Leprosarium (resident) & Outreach Care for lepers " Orphan Assistance - secondary school orphans Mjimwema: " Good Shepherd Orphanage and Kindergarten With gratitude and trust in God, we have sent our first international missionaries and hope to broaden our participation in the missionary activity beyond our own boarders. We look forward to maintaining our international character by welcoming new missionaries for our priory.

    U. I. O. G. D.


    Gallery of Peramiho Priory

    Mjimwema first class of students 2014

    Mjimwema dedication 11 May 2014

    Mjimwema student at work

    Caring for Orphans in MjiMwema

    Mjimwema classroom block

    Mjimwema back of classrooms and dining

    PGSS Classroom

    PGSS Computer lab

    PGSS group





    P.O.Box 18 Peramiho via Songea



    00255-25-260.2594 Prioress

    00255-25-260.2594 (Fax)

    EMAIL :

    Sr. Rosann Oken


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