Sisters open two schools in three days

2016-08-04 06:00
=Learners of Uitenhage Convent Primary formed the number 800 in celebration of the 800 years of influence across the globe by the Order of Preachers.            Photo: HEILIE COMBRINCK

=Learners of Uitenhage Convent Primary formed the number 800 in celebration of the 800 years of influence across the globe by the Order of Preachers. Photo: HEILIE COMBRINCK

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Way back in 1887, it took six Dominican Sisters only three days to open two schools in Uitenhage - these schools were the forerunners of the current Uitenhage Convent Primary.

The Dominican Foundation, which is part of the Order of Preachers, has for the past 153 years played a dominant role in education in South Africa. Uitenhage Convent Primary, one of the Dominican schools, last week gave recognition to the 800 years’ influence on education across the globe, by the Order of Preachers.

“A Dominican Foundation in Africa was established by the Dominican Convent in Cabra, Ireland, during the 1860s. The first Dominican Sisters arrived at the Cape during 1863 and immediately began to establish schools,” said Wenda Marsh, a former staff member at Uitenhage Convent Primary, who has an extended knowledge of the history of the Order of the Preachers.

“By 1867, the first Dominican Schools had been established in the Eastern Cape. Eventually in 1887, six Sisters headed to Uitenhage to establish two schools which they opened within three days of their arrival,” said Marsh.

The schools established in Uitenhage were named Sacred Heart and St. Thomas.

“The Sisters played an important role in bringing education to all non-European children in Uitenhage when the Little Flower Primary School and Marymount High School were founded in the early 1920s.”

To ensure the future of Dominican schools, a Catholic School’s Trust has been established to safeguard the Dominican legacy.

  • St Reginald Roman Catholic Primary School in Kirkwood is the youngest of the Dominican schools in South Africa, founded in 1946. Their 70th anniversary is being celebrated this year.

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