REGION OF THE GAMBIA
Our Blessed Foundress had predicted:
“My daughters will sail the oceans!”
Blessed Marie Rivier’s prophecy became a reality when Sr. Ignace of Loyola, of Senegal, accompanied Sr. Cecilia Lanovaz, who is still serving in the Gambia, and Sr. Margret Camire. They landed on the West Coast of Africa sighting Bathurst, now Banjul on October 28th, 1968. When they arrived, they opened a convent in Serrekunda, London Corner.
In 1969, two new mission houses were opened in Bwaim and Picton Street in Banjul. In 1969, a young Gambian lady, Sister Madeleine Mendy came to join the sisters in the Serrekunda convent. With the presence of an aspirant (Madeleine) in their midst, there was a need to have a formation house. On February 7th, 1971, the Presentation of Mary novitiate was founded in the Gambia with Sister Cecilia Lanovaz as the director of the formation.
Another new convent was opened in Brikama with three sisters living together to share the love of Christ. The house was opened and blessed on 6th September 1976 and given the name ‘Christ the king convent.’
Furthermore, another convent was built in Bathurst that used to be called: ‘a Marian house.’ The Sisters later moved from the old Picton house in 1989, 23rd September to Tobacco Road.
On 14th January Shalom Retreat Centre was established. It has been used extensively to deepen the faith of adults and young people from all works of life. The name ‘Shalom’ means peace. In September 2009, a new foundation was established in Kunkujang Mariama.
On July 13th 2015, a new mission was opened in Ghana, Agogo.
We have five communities in The Gambia, to begin with: Serrekunda, Novitiate, Brikama, Kunkujang Mariama, Region house (the administrative house). We have a total number of 22 sisters, of which 19 are Gambians, 2 Ghanaians, and a Canadian.
Since 1968 we have opened Presentation Girls’ Vocational School in Banjul; Rivier Nursery School in Serrekunda; Shalom Retreat Centre, Fajara; Presentation of Mary Nursery, Primary and Junior School, Brikama; and Anne Marie Rivier Basic Cycle in Brikama.
As a region, we are engaged in formal and non-formal education, and particularly in vocational training for girls. We also organize retreats for Church bodies and for young people to enable them to reflect on their relationship with God and become better Christians and citizens. We endeavor to empower all we encounter in our ministry as educators and pastoral workers, especially youths. As a Region, we always try to make Jesus Christ known and loved in all that we are engaged.