Warmest congratulations to the Sisters of the Zambezi Area on the 25th anniversary of foundation, on 6th January, 1996.
RSHM presence in Zambia and Zimbabwe predates that event. For many years, Sisters from the Eastern American Province (EAP) and the English-Irish Province (EIP) were missioned to Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively. For some years too, young women from Zambia and Zimbabwe had been asking to join the Institute. In response to that, the decision was made to open the SHM Novitiate in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe in 1993.
Aware of the need for the growing mission to have a certain degree of autonomy in managing its affairs, and after appropriate consultation, Sr. Patricia Connor and her Council made the decision to establish the Zambezi Region, with its own structure of governance. On 6th January 1996, the Region was formally established during an Inter-Africa Assembly. Sr. Virginia Mullane was appointed the first Regional Superior.
This was a step in faith, as the number of RSHM at the time was small: a total of 10 sisters from the EIP and EAP who committed themselves to serve in the new Region. Gradually, with new entrants, the number of Sisters grew and the mission flourished. Today there are 20 professed members of the Zambezi Area, four of whom are serving in other parts of the Institute. Currently there are also two temporary professed Sisters from other Areas (Brazil and Mozambique) who have been missioned to the Zambezi Area.
The Church is called to incarnate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all times and places and the RSHM Constitutions state that ‘our mission demands incarnation in diverse cultures’ (36). RSHM mission has been strengthened and enriched through its incarnation in the cultures of our two African Areas. We thank God for that and for the many Sisters, past and present, who lived and served in the Zambezi Area. May our charism and mission continue to flourish and to be a source of abundant life for the people of Zambia and Zimbabwe today and in the future.