Southern Nigeria

Southern Nigeria 


Holy Rosary Retreat and Conference Centre, Nsukka

The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and minds of all who encounter Jesus.  A joy ever new.  A joy that is shared.”  Pope Francis.


Regional Headquarters: Holy Rosary Convent, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State.

Regional Leader
:  Sister Stella Nwosu.  Telephone: 00 234 803 934 3202.  Email: 

Vocation Contact:

Our Communities
Our communities are 10, situated in five Dioceses: Abuja, Akwa, Enugu, Nsukka and Onitsha.

Regional House, Enugu
Shanahan’s Mission House, Enugu

Holy Rosary College, Uwani Enugu,
Novitiate Community, Enugu

 Holy Rosary Girls’ College Gwagwalada,
 Wuse Community Abuja,

 Magazine Road Community Onitsha,

Holy Rosary Girls’College Nsugbe,
Igboukwu Community,
Holy Rosary Sisters Community Nsukka. 

About us
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)
From that year onward the Holy Rosary Sisters,  in co-operation with the diocese, 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.
Now in this 21st century, filled with that same missionary spirit that inspired the founding sisters,  the daughters and grand-daughters of those early Holy Rosary pupils carry forward the banner of mission to the wide world.  Here in Southern Nigeria we continue to minister to people in the areas of  Religious Formation, Administration, Education, Health, Development work, Pastoral/Social work, Advocacy, Adult Literacy and Women’s empowerment, and more.  We are a “Sending Region” and from here sisters “go forth to the whole world” – to nearby Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa, as well as to Kenya, Zambia and Ethiopia in East Africa; they serve also in Ireland, the UK, the USA, and Brazil.  How great must be the joy in Bishop Shanahan’s heart as he sees how the gospel seeds planted long ago are flourishing today!


Sister Chinyeaka C Ezeani presents her valuable new book on interculturality in religious life.

A new book on Interculturality and the Religious life has just been written by Sr Chinyeaka C Ezeani, published by Pauline Publications Africa.
    “Taking seriously the prayer of Jesus that all may be one (John 17:21), Sister Chinyeaka tries in this book to articulate clearly the challenges as well as the beauty of living as people from different cultures in religious life.  The underlying assumption in her work is that it is possible and necessary to appreciate the beauty that each culture brings.  This requires continuous to conversion to the heart of Christ, and prayerful attentiveness to biases and complexes that tend to support mischaracterization of other cultures. ” (From the Foreward)


Nsugbe Girls’ Secondary School, Onitsha

The school celebrated their first Sports Day in January 2019

Pictures show the school, the march-past by Principal and staff, students from different Houses,  with Hostel Mistresses and visiting sisters: an enjoyable day for everyone!




Religious Formation – preparation for Mission   

We continue to thank God for the good work our sisters in Formation ministry are doing on behalf of the whole congregation. God has continued to furnish our congregation with the gift of vocations to Mission. We remain ever grateful and do not relent in promoting vocations.
Seven pre-candidates left for Cameroon in September, 2018 to begin their candidacy programme.   Here in the novitiate there are seven first year novices and three second years.  We pray that God will be with them as they discern their vocation.


Setting off for the Candidates’ programme with happy smiles.

Profession: the parents generously bring their daughter to God

We desire to consecrate our lives to God as Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary…


High Standards in Education


Students of Holy Rosary Girls’ Secondary School, Gwagwalada. Abuja, celebrate their graduation day.

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Holy Rosary Girls’ Secondary School, Nsugbe, Onitsha: starting young at the computer.

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.)

Candidates in formation, preparing to be missionaries and religious




Young Professed Sisters take a day out from their professional studies for prayer and reflection.

The Region of Southern Nigeria is now the main sending region for the congregation, with sisters on mission in most of our other Regions.


Celebration of Bishop Shanahan Day at Onitsha June 10th 2017  


Bishop Shanahan stepped ashore at Onitsha from the mighty River Niger all those years ago.  Now students and people gather in great number to celebrate his memory.
     Holy Rosary Sisters in Nigeria and all other people of God celebrated Bishop Joseph Shanahan’s day today on Sunday 10th June, 2017 at the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Onitsha, Anambara State, Nigeria. It was wonderful!  The celebration started with a rosary procession by the faithful at 8 am, followed by a Eucharistic celebration at 10 am. The homilist  said that all the priests were asked to teach about the life of Bishop Shanahan in their parishes for one week, which started the previous Sunday,  Pentecost.  He said that the experienced was so enriching that it has enabled him to read the book of Bishop Shanahan and see the many things he did here on earth especially in the life of lay people of the archdiocese. He encouraged every Christian to  be strong in faith and be serious with evangelization so that the work of  saving souls for God will not stop in their time.


Ifendu, the Light of Life

Ifendu from the beginning has worked in various ways for gender awareness and empowerment  of women. From 2015 we have been able to extend services to rural communities, incorporating literacy training, inspired by MSHR ministry approach in Liberia. 

This approach comprises adult literacy, skills acquisition training and microcredit.  The project is now running in several Local Government Areas in Enugu and Imo States and has reached over 400 women with varying degrees of success in the different locations.
Here is Stella, giving her own testimony: 

“My life was full of struggles

 “My name is Ogbu Stella. I used to trade in cocoyams; but finance was my problem. As a widow with six children, my life was full of struggles and challenges. I did not have enough money to take care of my children. Unless I begged, my children and I would not eat. I used to borrow to go to the market but it was not enough. Then I resorted to making brooms for sale; also searching and picking palm kernels from the bush. I returned to the house to shell them to bring out the seeds. I would then go and sell them in a distant market where many people used to go, like Kogi. I used to be afraid to go alone because I could not understand their language and I could not speak English.

 Then Ifendu came along. Since then there has been joy and gladness in my family. Yes! Ifendu brought us joy and happiness; especially the literacy classes. We learnt so much. … Ifendu taught us to share news of anything happening in any part of the country. They made us women who know about things around us.  My brain that was blocked before was able to open!”

Many women share similar stories, which can be read in the Ifendu Newsletter on this website under Development.


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

Palm kernel oil processed for use in soap making. Residue for animal feed.


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.



Copyright  Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary




Bishop Shanahan

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.