On July 11, 1995, four Sisters of Notre Dame began their journey to their new home and mission in Busseesa, Uganda: Sister Mary Janet Stamm and Sister Mary Delrita Glaser from the Covington, KY, province and Sister Margaret Mary Scott and Sister Jane Marie McHugh from the Thousand Oaks, CA, province. After a stop in London, the sisters, with their many boxes and suitcases flew to Entebbe, Uganda where they were met by a welcoming delegation.
The sisters were responding to a call of Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire, Bishop of the Diocese of Hoima, Uganda to come and assist in improving the educational program in the diocese. After learning something of the language, customs, traditions, as well as the educational system of the country, the sisters developed a model for what would be their primary school.
In Uganda, the Sisters began building their convent and school on land donated to the Diocese of Hoima by the family of Denis Kamyuka. Denis was condemned and prepared to die with the Ugandan Martyrs, but he was rescued and lived the rest of his days in the safety of Buseesa. His holy ways continue to inspire people in the area who visit his grave every year during the Ugandan Martyrs procession.
Even today, the two provinces of Covington, KY, and Thousand Oaks, CA, continue to sponsor the mission in Uganda. Life in Buseesa continues on at a steady pace keeping the sisters busy running the convent, two schools with dormitories, the farm, and numerous programs.
Uganda, one of the 54 countries of the continent of Africa, is about the size of Oregon in the United States. The equator crosses the southern part of the country and the land varies from semi-desert in the north-east, to the lush and fertile shores of Lake Victoria to the beautiful mountainous south-west. The tropical heat is tempered by the altitude which averages over 1000 meters (1 m.= 39in.). Agriculture is the most important section of the economy, employing about 80% of the population.
Uganda, known as the Pearl of Africa, is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the south by Tanzania and Rwanda, on the west by Democratic Republic of Congo, and on the north by Sudan. Lake Victoria in the south-east, is the second largest fresh water lake in the world. Much of the wildlife has been destroyed, but there are still Colobus monkeys in the trees. Wildlife can be found in the many national parks.
The capital city is now Kampala. Years ago the captial was at Entebbe where the airport still remains. Entebbe means chair and the place was so named because it was the seat of the government.
The first missionaries reached Uganda in 1879 and were initially received with enthusiasm, but soon a persecurtion began. St. Charles Lwanga with his 22 companions were martyred for their Christian faith and love of purity. Today the Uganda martyrs are the heroes of this country.