St. Raphael's Priory

Uwemba, Tanzania

in the Diocese of Njombe

founded in 1931
promoted to the rank of Simple Priory on 1 May 1962

Address:

St. Raphael's Priory Uwemba
Private Bag
P. O. Njombe
TANZANIA

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History:

The Uwemba Priory of St. Raphael is located in the Southern Highlands region of the south-western corner of Tanzania in East Africa. It was originally founded in 1931 as St. Raphael's Mission Station for the evangelization of the Wabena. The first missionaries were Benedictine monks from Peramiho under the leadership of the great pioneer missionary, Father Joseph Damm of St. Ottilien. Uwemba soon became the centre for the Benedictine Missionaries working in the northern part of the Abbey Nullius of Peramiho among the Wabena and the Wapangwa and it became a dependent priory in 1962. This northern area of the Peramiho Abbey Nullius became the Diocese of Njombe in 1962 and it has its own African Bishop. Because of its special character as the monastic centre for the monks working in the Diocese of Njombe, Uwemba acquired a semi-autonomous status although it is still a dependent priory of St. Benedict's Abbey in Peramiho. The Uwemba Priory has a community of thirty-eight monks, all of whom belong to Peramiho. They work in sixteen mission parishes of the Diocese of Njombe and assist the African Benedictine Sisters of the Umiliwaha Convent which has one hundred and eighty professed Sisters. The monks of Uwemba have just recently completed the Cathedral of Njombe which they built themselves with the help of local African craftsmen, whom they had trained. Aside from the pastoral ministry and the apostolate of evangelization, the monks run several technical workshops where they train young Africans in the various technical skills which are so desperately needed in a developing country like Tanzania. In co-operation with the Benedictine Sisters from Tutzing, they maintain two large hospitals and several dispensaries. Adult education centres and homecraft training centres for women are also conducted in almost every mission parish.


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Peramiho Abbey
Diocese of Njombe


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