The first Sisters came from Brixen to Africa (Cameroon) in 1935 and set up a foundation in Shisong, Diocese of Kumbo. It is from Shisong that the foundations in other African Countries were created since Shisong became the Provincial Seat (Central Office) of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis in Africa. For more than 80 years, the Tertiary Sisters have made Shisong a mirrow of their services in Africa, comprising of healthcare, education, care of orphaned children and other socio-pastoral services, resource management, etc. The Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis are a Religious Congregation in the Catholic Church, started by Venerable Maria Hueber in Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy 1700. They have communities in Italy, Austria, Bolivia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Central Africa and Morocco.
Health services constitute a principal activity of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis in Africa. Most of these services were open in the 1960s and 1970s because they were rare and the Sisters had the passion to save lives especially mother and child who were highly vulnerable. The first missionaries started St. Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital Cardiac Center Shisong in a building made of mud blocks, thatched with grass, and baby’s cot was made of carton. It took them close to 20 years to stabilize in Shisong before they opened another health service in Njinikom in 1953 and Bafut in 1963. In Shisong, we also run the Catholic School of Health Sciences for the training of nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians.
We consecrate ourselves to God through the vows of Poverty, Obedience and Chastity. We live according to the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and in the spirit of Maria Hueber, our mother Beginner, who responded to God’s call, dedicated to the education of the under-privileged girls. Our Core Values Includes: Conversion, Contemplation, simple life style, joy, hospitality, compassion, availability and accountability.
Some of the Franciscan Symbols commonly used:
– A white cord: A sign of membership in the Franciscan Family. The three nodes symbolize Chastity, temperance, and obedience.
– The Franciscan crown (Rosary) or the seven Joys of Our Lady: as revealed to a Fr San Diamiano BI Ganciscan Novice in 1422 by Our Lady.
– The San Damiano Cross: Spoke to St. Francis in a little Church in Assisi, “Francis, go rebuild my Church”.
The entire Congregation has its headquarters in Rome with Mother Theodosia Baki as First African Mother General. The Cameroon Provincial Leadership Team for 2019-2025 period is made up of:
– Sr. Gloria Wirba Kenyuyfon – Provincial Superior
– Sr. Nicole Nchanji – Provincial Vicar and Councilor for Secretaries, Bursars & Projects
– Sr. Eileen Javnyuy – Councilor for Health, Justice and Peace
– Sr. Mediatrix Wirba – Councilor for Education, Pastoral and Social
– Sr. Hedwig Njom – Councilor for Formation & Counselors
Maria Hueber was born May 22, 1653, in Brixen. She was raised under very simple conditions. She was the youngest of the five children of Nikolaus and Anna Tapp. Soon after her birth, her father went to the frontier and never returned.
At a very young age, Maria was already assisting her mother in sewing in order to provide for their livelihood. It was not long before she left her parents’ home to work as a nanny in Bozen and later as a housemaid in Brixen, Innsbruck and Salzburg. During this time she underwent tribulations which she bore patiently and served with great dedication.
She had an intimate relationship with God, was sensitive to the needs of the times and sought to recognize and fulfill the will of God without delay.
She later returned to Brixen and cared for her sick and elderly mother—a ministry she continued through to her mother’s death.
Impressed by the Franciscan way of life, she joined the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis and professed her vows publicly in the Church of the Poor Clares. From then on, she wore the penitential dress of the Third Order.”
Maria was endowed with the gift of prophecy. In 1683 she prophesized that the Turks would be defeated September 12 in Vienna. She also prophesized the impending death of Bishop Paulinus Mayr of Brixen.
Due to these prophecies, it was alleged that she was a witch. Consequently, she was summoned and interrogated by the administrative authority of the diocese. However, after a thorough examination she was released.
After the death of her mother in 1696, Maria Hueber returned to the house of the noble lady Catherine of Enzenberg and lived a peaceful life.
During his stay in Rome Father. Isidor Kirnigl met a community of sisters dedicated to the teaching of poor girls. Upon his return, he shared the experience with Maria, who received this news with great enthusiasm, and started the first free girls’ school in Tyrol in 1700 in Brixen.
Together with her companion, Regina Pfurner, Maria started living a religious life according to the Rule of the Third Order, thus laying the foundation for the Congregation of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis.
Maria died on July 31, 1705, after severe suffering. Because of her holiness, she was buried at the side entrance of the Church of the Poor Clares in Brixen.
“Since then, the memory of this extraordinary woman has not faded. Her influence keeps growing and her exceptional position is being appreciated in the Church in a new way.” (Bishop Wilhelm Egger, Bozen-Brixen)
The process of obtaining information for the beatification of our Mother Foundress from the Diocese of Bozen-Brixen was carried out from 1996 to 1998. The beatification process is currently on-going in Rome.
On March 19, 2019, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, authorized the congregation for the causes of saints to promulgate the decree concerning the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Hueber, thus declaring her venerable.
For the beatification of Maria Hueber, we still need a clear miracle, which must be confirmed by the Vatican after thorough examination.
Kindly send testimonies of prayers answered through the intercession of Maria Hueber to: firstname.lastname@example.org