Holy Cross sisters work toward the transformation of human hearts, human relationships and all creation. In doing so, they recognize the signs of the times that cry out for healing and wholeness. On the African continent, in Ghana and Uganda, the sisters stand in solidarity with those who are poor and powerless.
Did You Know?
- Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa because of its abundant biodiversity and serene beauty.
- The Global Peace Index ranks Ghana as the most peaceful country in Africa.
Sisters find great beauty and great need in Uganda
When Sisters of the Holy Cross set foot in Uganda in 1967, they found a country of great beauty and great need. Lovely Lake Victoria graced the southern border, while misty mountains ranged along the western edge. But the country also was sloping dangerously into political corruption and civil war.Still, the bishop of the Fort Portal diocese asked Holy Cross sisters to come and fulfill a need for education. Soon, three sisters arrived and achieved swift success with the creation of St. Maria Goretti School. Additional sisters joined them. Some were nurses who could staff hospitals as the civil war escalated. At that time of unrest, most expatriates were fleeing Uganda. In addition, the U.S. Embassy had withdrawn its diplomats. Holy Cross men and women had the option to leave too, but all stayed.
In 1986, as the armed struggle was ending, the Congregation joyously welcomed the first two Ugandan women as Sisters of the Holy Cross. That number has been growing steadily since.These many decades later, 28 sisters minister across this East African country. They founded, operate and staff the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre and Moreau Nursery and Primary School in Kirinda. Other schools, an orphanage, and the elderly and children living in poverty benefit from the sisters' kindness. In addition, widows and widowers, human trafficking victims, and people traumatized and displaced by the Sudanese war also are served with compassion and expertise, in witness of God’s love for all creation.
Holy Cross brothers extend warm welcome in Ghana
The Brothers of Holy Cross had long extended an invitation to the sisters to join them in West Africa. Finally, two Holy Cross sisters arrived in 1983. “Akwaaba (welcome)!” a brother greeted them. “We have waited 25 years for the Sisters of the Holy Cross to come to Ghana!”That auspicious beginning led to what is now an almost 40-year journey in this West African country. The early years saw sisters assisting with catechetical duties in the parish—holding workshops to teach people about the Catholic Church, its doctrine and the Word of God. Later, an urgent plea was made for a psychiatric nurse to work with mentally ill street people, and the Congregation sent a qualified sister to fulfill this role. The sisters also initiated diverse efforts to train lay people to assume leadership of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, catechetical instruction and youth formation.
Today, 14 sisters minister in Ghana. They founded and operate the thriving Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Kasoa, where 900 students from nursery through junior high receive an excellent education. They also serve at St. Martha’s Parish in faith formation and empowerment, and with a youth group at Pontifical Missionary Children. Their most recent ministry is also soaring to success—a multi-city plastics recycling program that provides an income for people in poverty, while cleaning up the environment.In 1995, the Congregation welcomed its first Ghanaian sister. Since then, 20 additional women from Ghana have become Sisters of the Holy Cross. Together, they minister to build communities of justice and love.