Congregants gather at Motse Maria Roman Catholic Mission in Limpopo

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Hundreds of congregants gathered at Motse Maria Roman Catholic Mission at Ga-Mashashane, outside Polokwane in Limpopo, to celebrate the church’s centenary. The church was built in 1922 by Catholic missionaries.

In the past, the church operated a hospital for communities in and around Polokwane.

A large number of Motse Maria church members gathered to celebrate and honor the church’s 100th year of existence. The church was established in 1922 by Father Fridericus Osterrath.

In the past, the church used to have a maiden hospital called St. Joseph. The hospital was closed due to lack of funding.

Known as Our Lady, the church is now home to a girls-only high school. The school has boarding facilities for learners from Grade 8 to 12.

The school produced many successful alumni, including the country’s first female commercial pilot, Asnath Mahapa.

Father Welcome Maluleke says they are celebrating in order to remember the legacy of those who founded the church.

“This gathering means a lot to the people of Polokwane because many people have attended school here and many people are doctors, many people are lawyers. Today, they are here also, and it is good for them to see where they used to school and to see where they used to be and spending their time. So, now it’s jubilation for them. Surely, it won’t be the same as when they were here. So, now they are mesmerised to see this place still existing the way it is.”

The church is home to the last resting place of the founding members. Historian Peter Ledwaba says the church changed the lives of people in Ga-Mashahane, Ga-Matlala, and surrounding areas.

“We, the people who are staying around, benefited a lot. We got an education from the school and then the gospel also.”

Former and current students say the church was more than just a place of prayer. It provided knowledge for them.

Hundreds of congregants are expected to once again converge here on the 14 of October. They will be celebrating the centenary of Motse Maria Secondary School.