- About Us
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The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, founded by Bishop Joseph Shanahan CSSp for the evangelisation of women in Nigeria, arrived in Nigeria in 1928. They opened their first school for girls in that same year on October 7th, Feast of the Holy Rosary, in Onitsha. (See About Us, Our History on the Home Page)
Between that year and 1965, in co-operation with the diocese, the sisters set up a network of primary, secondary and vocational schools and teacher training colleges, as well as hospitals and nurses and midwives training schools. (See below for a list of Holy Rosary schools and hospitals in Southern Nigeria.)
We remain true to the vision of our founder by our continued commitment to education, and maintain contact with our past Holy Rosary Students who contribute to life in society as wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, nurses and members of other professions, not only in Nigeria but throughout the world.
Another name for the Kingdom of God is Companionship in Empowerment. (See Inclusivity, a Gospel Mandate, Diarmuid O’Murchu). Ifendu envisions a new world of inclusivity in which women and men, girls and boys, relate to each other as equals and have equal opportunity for advancement. Ifendu works to address poverty and gender based violence against women, due to unemployment and under employment, lack
of business skills and illiteracy. (Read more about Ifendu in our BLOG, January 2018) In Ifendu we follow the spirit of our founder, Bishop Shanahan, who sought always the dignity of women.
Bishop Shanahan placed the highest value on the Catholic school. In the visitors’ book on the occasion of the opening of the first Holy Rosary school he wrote the following:
The object of the school is to honour and glorify God by teaching every pupil to know, love and serve him here below, and then to share with him his happiness forever in heaven.
May every girl who enters this school reproduce in her life the virtues practiced by Our Lady, …. who was and is the greatest model of Christ Her Divine Son.
May the blessing of Jesus Christ ever come upon and remain with every little girl who enters this school.
May every girl who enters this school enter one day the gates of heaven.
In addition to Education, the Region of Southern Nigeria is engaged in health care, pastoral work, vocation fostering, justice and peace, retreat work, development, and small scale industries. We are also responsible for the religious formation of our future missionaries in Holy Rosary Novitiate, Enugu. (See About us, Vocation, and Be Part of Our Mission.)
The Region of Southern Nigeria is now the main sending region for the congregation, with sisters on mission in most of our other Regions.
Holy Rosary Retreat and Conference Centre, Nsukka, is a popular venue for retreats, seminars, workshops and conferences of various kinds. Leadership training for functionaries in the nearby secondary schools is also highly valued by participating schools.
Phone: +234 703 4390 090
We also engage in skills training for young women and some young men to enable them to earn their living. To maintain the Centre with its many financial demands we also run some mini-projects, such as the palm oil and palm kernel oil processing seen below.
Palm oil production
Trainees learn soap making, detergents, powders and cosmetics.
Young men and women are employed in the bakery, host-making, tailoring and other departments, where they can learn skills and earn their living. It is our priority to maintain links with their families, and to guide them to plan for the future when they can set up their own businesses with the skills they have learnt.
Tailoring, Baking, Making Hosts, Packing bread for sale.
Holy Rosary Schools and Hospitals in Southern Nigeria between 1928 and 1965
First school: Immaculata Primary School, Onitsha, followed by many other primary schools. Post Primary schools included: QRS Onitsha; Owerri Girls High School; Mount Carmel Teachers’ College, Emekuku; Ozaba Secondary School, Port Harcourt; Diobu Secondary School; Aba T.C.; Ehime and Ihiite T.C.s; Umuna T.C. and Ihioma Secondary School; Awgu Secondary School; QRS Nsukka; Loretto T.C., and more, from which young women graduated and went on to contribute in many admirable ways to society.
Hospitals included: Onitsha Maternity, Borromeo, Emekuku, Ihiala, and Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka.
All these were taken over by the Government at the end of the Biafran war.