On 28th May 2011 St Joseph’s High School Chivuna celebrated its Golden Jubilee – “50 years of existence”. An existence which had its beginnings on 8th July 1960 when two brave daughters of Mary Aikenhead – Sisters’ Mary Killian and Theresa Francis arrived in Chivuna with the two first Zambian girls to be postulants Elizabeth Chinyama Hilundu RIP and Sr Catherine Chileshe.
The name “Chivuna” in the local native language was known as a place of protection, safety and refuge for slaves at the time. Today the situation is different as we no longer have slaves and through education girls, who once did receive any formal education, are today sent to school. Parents did not want to send them to school for they believed women were better workers than men.
On 15th August 1960 an upper Primary boarding school for girls began and in August 1961 St Joseph’s school opened, with Sr. Marie Bernadette O’Leary being the first Principal. At the beginning of the school mission there were just 30 girls. One wonders if over 50 years ago our sisters in Chivuna could ever have envisioned today’s enrolment of 726? Or even a gathering like we had on 28th May this year during the Eucharistic celebration.
In 1967 the Religious of Sacred Heart of Mary Sisters (RSHM) arrived and lived with our Sisters for 2 years before the complete handover of the school took place in 1970 when the Sisters of Charity finally left the school.
The past pupils and mothers of some of the present pupils were urged to support the school in any way possible. Whilst the present pupils were encouraged to remain focused and have pride in the school for the great opportunity of being there where Christian morals/values are offered.
We had a beautiful celebration and Fr. Michael Kelly sj gave an inspiring homily and a brief history of the school’s beginnings. The day ended with entertainment from a cultural group known as “Munkazubu” from Chikuni as well as the cultural group from the present pupils.
“Thanks be to our God for all His mercies! And truly we have many to be grateful for collectively and individually.” (Saying of Mary Aikenhead)
Sr. Kayula Lesa with Sr. catherine Chileshe – one of the first postulants who arrived in Chivuna in 1960.