A little over a year ago, Austin Prep began conversation with representatives of some congregations of women religious about the possibility of expanding their ministry to Austin Prep. With the permission of His Eminence Seán Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, and the approval of His Excellency Most Reverend Severus Jjumba, Bishop of Masaka (Kampala, Uganda), I’m pleased to announce the Daughters of Mary will join the Austin Prep community on July 1st.
Founded in 1910 in Uganda and placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Bannabikira Sisters were elevated to Pontifical status by Pope Pius XII in 1958. (Bannabikira is pronounced “bonna-bee-ker-a” in Luganda, the principal language spoken in the central region of Uganda). The mission of the Bannabikira Sisters is to educate young people, care for the sick, and engage in social work, all inspired by the spirit of the Motherhood of Mary. In coming to Austin Prep, the Daughters of Mary will expand their apostolate to our School and the Archdiocese of Boston. The Daughters of Mary have several apostolates, including St. Aloysius Girls Secondary School in Kalungu, Central Region, Uganda. In addition to educating young women, the School provides food, clothing, medical care, and domicile for their students.
The Superior General of the Order, Sister Noelina Namusoke, is sending 5 Sisters to Austin Prep. The Sisters hold advanced degrees and have backgrounds in science, math, theology, campus ministry, and school leadership. Through an arrangement with the Archdiocese of Boston and the hospitality of Father David Lewis, Pastor of St. Adelaide’s Church in Peabody, the Sisters will live in a convent at the parish. The Bannabikira Sisters truly live a life of material poverty and when they arrive at Austin Prep, they will bring with them very little beyond some personal affects.
As we prepare to welcome the Sisters in July, we need the help of the Austin Prep community to get them established. The convent at St. Adelaide’s is completely vacant – no furniture, furnishings, or housewares. As we work with the Sisters to determine their needs, we’re going to ask members of the Austin Prep family to consider purchasing or donating items so the Sisters can be comfortable when they move in. I’ve asked Sue Belanger, Assistant Head for Administrative Services to lead this project. Essentially, we’re going to create the equivalent of a wedding registry with an online vendor and invite support. Sue will reach out in the coming weeks with more information.
The arrival of the Bannabikira Sisters is a blessing and special opportunity to deepen Austin Prep’s connection to a global world, to broaden our horizons and perspectives about culture, race and the lived experiences of others, and to advance the work we do in the Lord’s Vineyard to spread the Kingdom of God. I look forward to being in touch again to share more information about these joyful women religious.