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The Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross

The Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross (SMHC) was founded in 1856 by Fr. Theodosius Florentini, OFM, Cap and Mother Maria Theresa Scherer. It is affiliated with the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and is of Pontifical Right.


After the General Chapter of 1986, Mother General Sr. Gertrude Furger made an appeal to the Indian Province to take up a new mission in Africa. With due consideration, the first three Sisters were sent to Uganda on the 3rd of April 1992 to study the situation and to meet the girls who were eagerly waiting to join the Holy Cross. Prayers of our Sisters from West Switzerland in Burundi, the initial visits of the General team, the request of the local church of Uganda, and the centenary celebration in India marked the sending of four Sisters to sow the seed of their mission in the soil of Africa.

The auspicious day of their arrival at Entebbe, Uganda was the 6th of October 1993. The congregation was welcomed joyfully by Fr. Expedito Magembe, the one who extended the invitation to Uganda. In the first three months, the Sisters were sent to the Sisters of Daughters of Mary for an intense course to learn Luganda - the local language, which empowered them to begin their apostolate of teaching, nursing, caring for the old and orphaned, visiting families and other charitable works.

The purpose of the congregation's going to Uganda was to implant their charism in the soil of Uganda, which has subsequently sprouted and borne much fruit. On the 12th of February 1999, the mission was raised to the status of Vicariate. The first batch of four Ugandan Sisters took their first vows on the 15th of February 1999. The Sisters have been able to integrate themselves into the African culture and reach out in compassionate love. Now there are five communities in four dioceses in Uganda. There are two health centers and one Holy Cross School where they render service predominately to the poor. In one of the schools, the Sisters collaborate with the Franciscans. Physically handicapped and HIV/AIDS patients are cared for by the Sisters. They visit the old, lonely, poor and sick and provide for them the basic necessities of life to the greatest extent possible.

At present, eleven Indian Sisters from the three Indian Provinces have opted to work together with the Sisters in Uganda. Their presence in the past ten years has attracted many young women to the Holy Cross way of life and today there are 35 African Sisters, 6 novices, 2 postulants, 7 senior candidates and 16 candidates, who are the future of the Vicariate to carry on its missionary endeavors.