Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara (COLU)

Chaplain house Kwamndolwa

The Congregation of Our Lady of Usambara (COLU) just celebrated its 50th anniversary, October 8, 2004. This congregation is diocesan and was founded by Rt. Rev. Bishop Eugen Arthurs IC in October 8, 1954 at Rangwi, Lushoto, Tanga. The Precious Blood Sisters CPS were the formators of this community - Rev. Sr. Willibalda Giesbers CPS was its Mother General until September 1976. The first chapter took place in October 1970. It was decided in the chapter that by January 1, 1971 the assistant mother general and council be elected from the native community. Hence, the election results were as follows:
Rev. Sr. Willibalda Giesbers CPS – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Inviolata Mndeme COLU – Assistant Mother General
Rev. Srs. Benigna Minja, Victima Chuwa, and Auxilia Marseli COLU – counselors

The second chapter and elections took place in September 6 - 8, 1976 with the following results:
Rev. Sr. Inviolata Mndeme – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Vianney Bureta – Assistant Mother general
Rev. Srs. Auxilia Marseli, Richarda Sanduku, and Bernadis Kisoli – counselors
Sr. Willibalda_ic
During this period, the Mother General together with her council put much emphasis on finding a suitable place for the COLU sisters to live. Hence, with their ceaseless effort, Kwamndolwa became a new home and a better place – a transformation from a sisal plantation to a fruitful agricultural and residential venue. Since then, the community has been farming and raising animals on a large scale for self sustenance. Moreover, the community has been sharing its resources with the neighborhood and some secondary schools in the area. As a matter of fact, the community was awarded a medal (three consecutive years) for successful and prosperous farming in the region.
Third Chapter: 1982 – 1988
Rev. Sr. Inviolata Mndeme – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Valleria Morassa - Assistant Mother General
Rev. Srs. Cleopha Msoka, Scholastica Msoffe, and Senorina Kadala – Counselors
* After her death (1983), Rev. Sr. Scholastica was replaced by Rev. Sr. Richarda Sanduku.
Sr. Inviolata Mndeme.

In her second time as Mother General, Mama Inviolata Mndeme, her council, and community continued their role of establishing residential houses at Kwamndolwa along with many other responsibilities.

Fourth Chapter: 1988 – 1994
Rev. Sr. Maura Kimaryo – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Valleria Morassa – Assistant Mother General
Rev. Srs. Claudensia Msoffe, M. Thomas Ombeni, and Johanita Osima –

Along with many other responsibilities of building renovation at the old Motherhouse Rangwi, Mama Maura Kimaryo and her coucil completed the construction of residential houses, a health center, and a nursery school at Kwamndolwa. Also, they secured a new farm in Muheza and built St. Anna – Nguvumali, a new community home. Paralel to these responsibilities, education and on-going formation for the community members were given top priority.
Sr. Maura Kimaryo

Fifth Chapter: 1994 –2000
Rev. Sr. Maura Kimaryo – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Gaspara Kashamba – Assistant Mother General
Rev. Srs. Frieda Kissaka, Leonia Mdoe, and Emerenciana Mtei – Counselors

Sixth Chapter: 2000 – 2006
Rev. Sr. Leonia Mdoe – Mother General
Rev. Sr. Gaspara Kashamba – Assistant Mother General
Rev. Srs. Silvestra Msaki, Valleria Morassa, and Frieda Kissaka – Counselors

Community Homes

* Rangwi Sisters Convent (Original Motherhouse) – P.O. Box 143, Lushoto, Tanga
* Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent (Current Motherhouse) – P.O. Box 280, Korogwe, Tanga
* Montessori Training Center – P.O. Box 51, Lushoto, Tanga
* St. Anna, Nguvumali - P.O. Box 644, Tanga
* Usambara Sisters Kurasini – P.O. Box 1050, Dar es Salaam
* Muheza Michungwani – P.O. Box 130, Muheza, Tanga
* Karanga – Moshi

Sr. Leonia Mdoe
Community Projects

* Montessori Training Center – Ubiri - Lushoto, Tanga
* St. Eugene Hotel – Ubiri – Lushoto, Tanga
This hotel finances Montessori Training Center.

Non-commercial Community Projects

* Forestation – Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent
- The benefits of this project are environmental preservation as well as wood for fuel and timber.
* Agriculture (farming and animal raising) – Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent
- We grow all sorts of cereal and vegetable crops, raise cattle, pigs, and chickens for community sustenance.
* Biogas – Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent

St. Eugene Hostel
- Biogas is a by-product from our livestock: we use it for fuel and light.
* Catechetical Training Center – Rangwi Sisters Convent
- Trains and prepares the sisters to evangelize
* St. Pius Homecraft Center – Rangwi Sisters Convent
- Trains and provides girls and young women with domestic skills, sewing, etc.
* Health Center – Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent
- Provides healthcare for the community and the neighboring families
* Montessori Nursery School - Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent
- Trains and provides little children with learning and social skills
* Water - Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent, Rangwi Sisters Convent
Montessori Teachers Training Center

- Water is one of the biggest problems around here. We dig and use well water, however, oftentimes, we worry about insufficiency and sanitation.
* Solar System - Kwamndolwa Sisters Convent, Rangwi Sisters Convent
- By using solar energy, we have been able to cut back the use of wood as fuel and also conserve hydro-electricity.

The Charism and the Spirit of the Community

Evangelization is a top priority for this community, therefore, a lot of emphasis is put in training and preparing all its members during different stages of their religious life so that they will go out and witness Christ to all people. Immediately after the sisters make their solemn vows for the first time, they undergo catechetical training for two years at the Old Motherhouse, Rangwi. Upon completion of this training, they are then ready to catechize in different parishes, schools, and institutions or persue further education in order to become trainers of catechists or take on different responsibilities on diocesan or national levels.

Evangelization is not an easy task, considering today’s challenges of unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, HIV / AIDS, etc. In fact, the most taxing challenge we are facing at the moment is how to interact and engage the desperate young people (tomorrow’s nation) with something tangible and meaningful. Due to inadequate education and lack of employment, many of them substitute for alcoholism, drug abuse, prostitution, and other unhealthy lifestyles. Consequently, as a religious community, we have to do something to educate and empower our people holistically. We constantly search for ways of combating and eradicating the mentioned obstacles.
Catechetical school building  Rangwi
Along with this charism is the spirit of the community which enables its members to answer their call to evangelize on daily basis. Evangelization is a broad phenomenon which embraces all aspects of humanity, that is, spiritually, psychologically, and physically. Aparently, successful evangelization is not without strong spirituality of the evangelizers. Members in our community are like bees in a beehive: industriously and enthusiastically, each one does different chores to meet the needs of the community. It is through self dedication and commitment of every member and in sharing and utilizing their individual gifts and talents that we can create a communal spirit which ensures effective evangelization.
Chaple COLU Convent Rangwi
* Mbulu
Formation of the Mother of the Redeemer congregation
Usambara Sisters House Mbulu
Endamarariek Parish
Dareda Hospital
* Zanzibar
St. Joseph Parish
Kitope Parish

General Apostolate of the Community

We cannot talk about evangelization without considering the welfare of the whole person (physical, psychological, and spiritual) including his / her environment. Hence, as a community, we provide catechesis, education (nursery training, primary and secondary education), on-going formation, medical and healthcare, and other essential needs (food and clothing for the poor) for the diocese of Tanga and beyond. Examples of centers and institutions where the community members obtain training skills and / or operate from:

* Rangwi Catechetical Training Center
* Montessori Training Center – Ubiri (nursery)
* Mbulu Health Center
* Kwamndolwa Health Center
* Kwamndolwa Formation House
* Same Dispensary

The Growth of the Community and Apostolate

We are now about five hundred COLU members; thanks to God’s continuous call to join and to live religious life. The growth of the community is paralel to the expansion of its apostolate. Although we are a diocesan community and do most of our apostolate in this diocese (Tanga), we are obliged to reach out to other dioceses which require our apostolate. We currently work in several dioceses in Tanzania, such as:

* Dar es Salaam
Various departments of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference
Benedictine Fathers Kurasini
St. Maurus Parish Kurasini
Auxiliary Bishop’s House, Oyster Bay
* Same
Bwambo Parish
Gonnja Parish
Kisangara Juu Parish
Ngulu Parish

* Moshi
Visitation Girls Secondary School, Sanya Juu

Membership Procedures

This community accepts canditates who are mature young women and who have completed standard seven or higher education. It is the community’s intention and desire to further and improve its members’ education whenever there is a possibility.

* Aspirant – two years
* Postulant – one year
* Novice – two years
* Profess – solemn vows – six years, i.e. renewal of vows yearly for three years, then once for three years and then for life

Special Events and Celebrations

* December 4 – solemn vows (first year)
* December 8 – solemn vows (renewal and final)
* December 8 – 25th and 40th religious anniversaries
* October 8, 1979 – 25th anniversary (congregation)
* October 8, 2004 – 50th anniversary (congregation)