Twenty-two women who attended a Catholic boarding school in Cameroon run by Irish missionaries flew to Ireland at the end of April to express their thanks in person to their former teachers whom they refer to as their “mothers.”
The women graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes College in Mankon in 1986, a highly regarded all-girls secondary school that was founded by the Holy Rosary Sisters in northwest Cameroon in 1963. Praxedes Banseka, who flew to Dublin from Cameroon, told OSV News that the Irish nuns had “moulded” them and “taught us that as a girl we could stand on our own feet and we had the potential for everything possible. We are here today thanks to them,” the manager at the Cameroon Cooperative Credit Union League said.
The star of the reunion was Sister Mary Neville, who returned to Ireland from Cameroon in 2000. After a presentation from her past pupils, right before her 90th birthday, she addressed the packed room with emotion and told the women she felt “a great obligation” to their parents and the sacrifices they had made to give their daughters a good education.
She also paid tribute to Bishop Joseph Shanahan, who founded the Holy Rosary Sisters in 1924 in Ireland in Killeshandra, County Cavan.”Since then, we have never had money, but we have had benefactors. The people of Ireland sent us to you, and I am grateful for their generosity.”
Picture: Sister Mary Neville (second from left), who turns 90 in May and was the former principal at Our Lady of Lourdes College in Mankon, Cameroon, gives an emotional address at a reunion of sisters and students just outside Dublin in April 2023. She is assisted by Sister Franca Onyibor (left), congregational leader of the Holy Rosary Sisters, and past pupils Nagella Nukuna, from the U.S., and Cathy Nganje, from the U.K. Almost two dozen former pupils of Our Lady of Lourdes flew to Ireland to thank the sisters for their care, love and support. (OSV News photo/courtesy Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary)