MSHR has four communities in Zambia

The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts of all who follow Christ. A joy ever new.  A joy that is shared. (P0pe Francis)


Holy Rosary Sisters in Zambia

Regional headquarters: Holy Rosary Sisters, 9a Kaleya Road, Lusaka, Zambia.
Regional leader: Sister Catherine Oguonu  Phone: 00260 955 656 501  Email:
Vocation contact number: +260976162022

About us: The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, founded by Irish Missionary Bishop Joseph Shanahan in 1924, established its branch in Zambia in 1963, just a year before Zambia gained its independence. The golden jubilee of this establishment was celebrated in 2013.

The first group of sisters to arrive in Zambia engaged in Health care, Education and Development ministries. As time went on other ministries were added.

The aim of our ministries is to reach out to the poor and marginalized. Therefore we venture into very remote areas where people lack basic necessities and formal education. Our service to the poor hinges on the principle: “help the poor to help themselves.” Holding on to this principle with the generosity of good-willed people over the years, the Holy Rosary Sisters have lifted many out of poverty to a more dignified life.

Our Vision: A just society with human rights for all, in a healthy sustainable environment.

Our Ministries: Education, Skills training, Health care, Human/Rural development, Pastoral, HIV/AIDS awareness and care, Family ministry and resettlement of landless people.

Our four communities in Zambia are in Zimba, Monze, Chipapa, and Kaleya-Lusaka

Zimba Centre for Rural and Youth Development

Established to empower youth in rural areas for self-sustainability. Under the able leadership of Sister Bernadette Ngene the Centre gives training in brick-laying, carpentry, tailoring, IT, and agriculture. Hundreds of youth have benefitted from the project.  Recently we have been able to extend the catering and agriculture departments to include fish ponds, rabbit rearing, and pigs.  We encourage the planting of Moringa  trees for their multiple uses and economic value. 



Computer Studies: Networking, Word,  Excel, Data base, Powerpoint ;  Dress-making and Design.


Food and nutrition, Menu planning, Hygiene, House-keeping,

Food and nutrition, Menu planning, Hygiene, House-keeping,



Holy Rosary Development Centre, Chipapa

Skills training school, offering courses in tailoring, catering, and food production to young boys and girls, many of them orphans or people who have dropped out of school. Recently we extended the kitchen for the school of catering, funded by Porticus.  Touch Ireland is helping to extend the space of the Tailoring Department.  This has enabled us to meet the demands of the National Accrediting body, as the number of students continues to increase.   
Training is also given in conservation methods of agriculture and dairy farming, offering skills to households.

6. Sr. Catherine brings implements to participants

Sister Catherine Oguono with trainees on the farm.

Workshop on tree planting 051


Some comments by a visitor to our project at Chipapa.

Global Sisters Report 
Holy Rosary Sisters’ social entrepreneurship thrives in rural Zambia

by Joyce Meyer  January 13th 2020

In Zambia in October, I attended a convening sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation where sisters from East and West Africa learned more about the strategy of the Catholic Sisters Initiative and the new opportunities they have to build their development skills. (The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation funds Global Sisters Report.)  Two sections of the program were of great interest to me. One was on the importance of data collection that can help sisters build a body of knowledge and experience about internal and external developments in their congregations.  Another section was a panel of sisters speaking about their experience of a new program at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in California. Participating sisters are learning how to become more businesslike in their ministries and that being businesslike does not take away from their spiritual motivation of working with God’s people, but rather enhances what they can do.

Sister Catherine Oguonu, Principal, Chipapa

As I listened, I recalled a perfect example of social entrepreneurship that I witnessed in November 2018 in a visit to Chipapa, Zambia. Chipapa is a rural area about 20 miles outside of Lusaka, the capital. Two projects I witnessed excited my imagination about the potential of sisters as entrepreneurs. One was a dairy collection center and the other a skills training center. Both of these evolved from a vision of Holy Rosary Sisters from Nigeria who wanted to help remote communities of Zambia discover their potential for development. Chipapa was a neglected region, so it fit their mission perfectly.

Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary is an international congregation founded in Ireland in 1924, and the sisters’ influence has reached into African countries and Latin and North America. Entrepreneurship seems to be in their DNA, as I have witnessed a number of their other creative projects in Zambia. They model outside-the-box thinking!

The dairy collection center they started allows local farmers to bring their milk to a dairy from the nearby town. The milk is then processed and sold in local markets. The farmers are paid a percentage of the income. The sisters did not stop with this dairy project. They moved on to finding other development projects to help people become economically sustainable. Developing the youth was a priority because both young women and young men needed skills that could help them sustain themselves and their families.

    Chipapa now boasts a famous training school that each year graduates female and male students who can confidently enter the job market. The school opened about 10 years ago after extensive homework of the sisters visiting the communities of the region. The sisters wanted families to identify and articulate their priority needs. Families described high poverty rates, unemployment (especially among the youth), intense deforestation and dramatic food insecurity as most significant.

Food insecurity was not a surprise, as it affects many parts of Zambia as climate patterns continue to change. The primary food of the country is maize, a crop particularly vulnerable to drought. In recent years, rainfall has become more erratic than ever, inhibiting adequate food for even subsistence existence and contributing to a decreasing source of income.

In 2010, with this information in hand, four sisters were missioned to Chipapa from Lusaka to take up the challenges to provide students with skills that could address this disadvantaged environment. The sisters began searching for grants to build classrooms and dormitories, as Chipapa is far from accessible lodging. They also needed equipment and materials for the courses. A number of international foundations, excited by the project, supported the venture. While the buildings were going up, the sisters designed a curriculum that included food production and tailoring. Young women applied for these initial courses, but it was not long before men also became interested.  All students must meet two qualifications before they can enter the program: They must have completed grades seven through 12 and must be between the ages of 16 and 30. Students came from the immediate area and from far away, giving evidence of need, popularity and excellence.

Listening to the needs of the country, the sisters soon learned that the tourism industry was seeking people trained in hospitality skills. They enthusiastically took on the task, enhancing the catering curriculum and introducing hospitality management education. These attracted even more students. After some time, the school achieved national accreditation and now offers courses in tailoring, dairy and vegetable farming, farm rehabilitation, bakery and Eucharist-making.

The programs are holistic and include theory and practice, stressing values of self-reliance, creativity, entrepreneurship and hard work. Most students are residential and pay a reasonable amount for tuition and lodging. They cook and clean for themselves and maintain the lovely campus with trees and flowers planted around.

Another testimony to Chipapa: 
In 2014 students from St Gerard’s Secondary School, Bray, Co Wicklow, Ireland, visited Zambia as part of their R.E. and Social Outreach Programme. They visited projects in Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Sables and others, run by various missions and NGO’s. Katie Murphy, their scribe with the sparkling pen, describes their visit to Chipapa: “Our next trip was to the Holy Rosary Sisters Project, we were greeted by the nuns who run the project who were the most hospitable people I have ever met! They gave us a tour of the project which includes a cotton farm, livestock farm, bee-keeping, and a school. The moment when we made a donation to the head nun is one I will never forget. She made the most empowering inspirational speech overflowing with gratitude and raw compassion which moved us all.”



Copyright: Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary