Holy Rosary Sisters in Zambia

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

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 convents are in Lusaka, Chipapa, Monze and Zimba. We work in the Dioceses of Monze,  Kabwe, and the archdiocese of Lusaka.



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 here and there.


[Joyce Meyer is a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is GSR’s liaison to women religious outside of the United States.]

See below for more information about Chipapa


Zimba Centre for Rural and Youth Development

Established to empower youth in rural areas for self-sustainability. 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.

Animal and Crop production, Fish-farming, Soil science, Farm engineering

also Building, Bricklaying and Carpentry.


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




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


Leisure time:


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)




One hundred and twenty five years of Catholicism in Zambia
By Sister Ada Adibe    


The Church in Zambia launched this celebration on 6th August 2016. The celebration started last year on Parish and Diocesan levels.  15th July 2017 was the grand finale at the national level.
    It was a colourful, joyful and memorable day. It was held at the Agricultural Show ground in Lusaka. Large numbers of the faithful from different parts of the Country, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious Men and Women and Lay People gathered together to celebrate the sowing of Catholic Faith, its early stage of acceptance and growth in Zambia. Bishop Desmond Kambala from Malawi and a Bishop from Zimbabwe were also in attendance.


    The Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Julio Murat was the chief celebrant of the Holy Mass, while the Archbishop of Lusaka, Telesphore George Mpundu gave the homily. In his sermon he highlighted the dedication and self-giving of the early missionaries. He urged the present day Catholics to take a leaf from them and he quoted the motto of Mansa Diocese, “we are the missionaries of today”. He also called on the Catholic faithful of today to be more self-reliant for the Church in Zambia has grown.

    Meanwhile, there was an award ceremony to all the Missionary Congregations in the Country and some individual persons for their immense contribution in work of evangelization during the celebration.  And we, Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, were among those who received an award. The award was received by Sr Noel Mary Adjero on our behalf. Sr Lucy O

’Brien was also given an award for her selfless service to the people of God in Zambia. May God continue to rest her soul, Amen!

    At the celebration were the Superior General of the White Fathers, Rev Fr Stanley Lubungo, and Government officials led by the vice President, Inonge Wina, who commended the Catholic Church for her contribution to the nation. She recalled how the Catholic Church was in the fore front in asking the World Bank to cancel the nation’s debt because of the poor people.







Final Profession of Sister Yvonne Kalela  

The 7th October 2017 , the Feast of the Holy Rosary, was an exceptional day for Zambian region. It was a day we expressed inner joy and zeal for Mission as we celebrated the final profession of Sr. Yvonne Kalela in Kitwe at Saint John the Baptist parish, Chimwemwe. The final profession of Sr. Yvonne Kalela was very colourful and a remarkable celebration because we were blessed to have friends of the Holy Rosary Sisters whom Sister Theresa Stapleton contacted. May God bless and reward Sister Theresa Stapleton for her love, support, and generosity of heart. The parishioners, Friends of the Holy Rosary, and well-wishers supported us by coming in great numbers to celebrate with us. The celebrant the Vicar General of Ndola Diocese, Father Tresphor Mutale was the chief celebrant and in his homily, he emphasized on “living an authentic life as consecrated religious.”     



The parish was delighted to have the occasion because it was the first time to have final profession celebration. AS a region, it was also a time to attract vocations and some young women showed the desire to aspire with us. After Mass, we had a tremendous reception. We are grateful to God that everything happened according to His Grace and Will.                                        On Sunday, 8th October, Sister Yvonne’s family celebrated thanksgiving during Mass and in  the afternoon had a beautiful come-together celebration for Sister Yvonne.         


From Sister Sakungo Samba


MEMORIAL for Sister Barbara Lundberg
               From Sister Ada Adibe

    Time flies! A year has passed since Sr Barbara Lundberg finished her mission in this world and went to her creator. May her gentle soul continue to rest with the Lord.

    On  14th September 2017, which marked exactly a year since she departed from this earthly dwelling,  as a tradition here in Zambia, unveiling of her tomb was done to mark her death anniversary. 

    Meanwhile, there was a Eucharistic celebration on the eve of 14th, friends, some parishioners and members of the Diocesan Development Office where Sr Barbara was working before her death were in attendance. After the Mass we had  light refreshments at home.

    On the morning of 14th September, we, Holy Rosary Sisters, members of Diocesan Development Office, some of MSHR workers, Some Religious and the Cathedral Administrator, were present for the unveiling ritual.  It was memorable. May the soul of Sr Barbara Lundberg and the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen!

Farewell Barbara!



   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

Trainees with the cows




Orphans and Widows Development and Empowerment Club (OWDEC)


Sister Chizo spearheaded the project

In the Ngombe shanty town in Lusaka thousands of people live in overcrowded conditions with no access to sanitation or water. They had come from rural areas seeking a better life but instead found misery.When Sister Chizo Chiedu began to gather them together to hear their stories, the common theme was, they wanted land where they could grow their own food, and they wanted a clean environment. The problem was, how to get land.
When after much searching they at last got land, 26 families were able to move to a new settlement about an hour and a half from Lusaka. (See more:Global Sisters “Create a Farm, Anchor a Community”)



Courageous people take the huge step: Relocate.


A journey into the unknown


This is where the clinic will be.


The nursery for future crops

chizo 2

Moringa tree plantation

     The first maize harvest.







Chipapa: – A Testimony

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