UNVEILING OF PLAQUE : 19th February 2013 COMMEMORATING VENERABLE MARY POTTER AND THE PIONEER SISTERS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
19th February was a day of great joy to us as Little Company of Mary. We had the privilege of celebrating the Centenary of the death of our dear and Venerable Mary Potter by the unveiling of a marble plaque commemorating the pioneer Sisters who brought the charism and spirituality of Mary Potter to the Continent of Africa, remembering them with gratitude and thanksgiving.
We would like to give a little background regarding this plaque. It became necessary in 1910 for the Sisters to move to a bigger house. This house, which they called “Avoca”, has always been a heritage site for us as Little Company of Mary here in Port Elizabeth. The photograph printed in the attached summary was taken in 1910, and as you see the house there, so it still is exactly the same today.
Many Sisters in the Region and from other Provinces who have visited us here in Port Elizabeth will remember that we would have taken them to see it.
In 2004 we commemorated the Centenary of arrival of the pioneer Sisters to Port Elizabeth. One of the celebrations to mark this occasion was the blessing and unveiling of the above plaque at “Avoca” which was then a Bible Institute. A few months ago we noticed that the Bible Institute were changing residence and had placed the house on the market for sale.
Sister Ethel immediately began to make enquiries regarding the plaque and discovered that the house had been bought by one of the Schools of Maria Montesorri. Liaising with the Director of the School she was able to arrange for the plaque to be rededicated and to be placed in a prominent position at the entrance.
Mark had been Congregational Leader when the plaque was first unveiled in 2004. The LCM Motto for 2003 was “Love is the moving power of our world … if you would bring healing bring love”, and these words of Mary Potter had been inscribed on the marble. When the Director of the School heard that Mark was resident in Port Elizabeth she was most enthusiastic that Mark be invited to do the unveiling at the rededication for this special occasion in the history of our Little Company of Mary in Southern Africa.
The celebration was attended by the LCM Sisters of Port Elizabeth, our Sr. Mary Mugodzeri from Zimbabwe, teachers and staff, a few friends and parents of the children.
After the welcome address by the principal, the children entertained us for a short while with their percussion band,
and the choir of the younger members regaled us with song … all so beautifully trained.
Gerard, Therese, Ethel, Mary and Mark then gave input regarding the arrival of the pioneer Sisters to Port Elizabeth, and the subsequent development of ministries.
It was a very special day for us, and we feel grateful that the house which once was blessed with the presence of our Sisters of Little Company of Mary will always have a memorable place in the history of Port Elizabeth. With prayerful and loving hearts, therefore :-
We dedicate this plaque to the memory of our beloved Foundress, Venerable Mary Potter, who gave us the way, and to our pioneer Sisters, who worked under great difficulties during those early years; who through their prayers, sacrifice and enduring service made it possible for us to continue in this way of serving the sick, comforting the dying and reaching out in compassion to those suffering and in need.