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St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Father Louis Brisson (1817—1908) soon beatified
Sister Leonie Frances de Sales Aviat (1844 –1914)
Birth of the Congregation in France
Spreading from France to South Africa
What does our History mean to us Today?
   
Spreading from France to South Africa
8When the Vicar Apostolic of the Cape, Bishop Leonard, heard that the Society of African Missions of Lyons had decided to recall its subjects from Namaqualand and the North Western Cape, he made a trip to Europe in 1880 to find a Congregation willing to assume the responsibility of evangelizing these districts. God willed that he should turn to Fr. Louis Brisson. His request was granted and five Missionaries would leave Troyes on the 14th of July 1882. Father Jean-Marie Simon and his companions arrived at Pella (Northern Cape) on the 4th of September 1882.

pellaVery soon the enemy had sown cockle in the field. Four missionaries went back and Father Simon remained utterly alone. Faithful to the Oblate’s motto: “Tenui Nec Dimittam” (“I have taken hold, I will not let go”.) the 24 year old priest remained steadfast. After a year’s solitude he welcomed the first three Oblates Sisters from France. The mission was flourishing and a new Church was needed. After 7 years of labour, on the hot sands of the desert stood the majestic cathedral, built in Roman and Gothic style. Bishop Simon and his companions, 10supported by the Oblate Sisters, have witnessed the growth and spreading of the Catholic faith. Missions were founded in Matjieskloof (1885), Nababeep (1900), O’kiep (1904), Port Nolloth (1904) in R.S.A and Heirachabies (1896), Warmbad (1907) and Gabis (1907) in Namibia.