Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill


In 1882 Reverend Francis Pfanner, then prior of the Trappist (Reformed Cistercian) Monastery of Mariastern (Bosnia), volunteered to establish a monastery in Cape Colony, in order to try to adapt the rule of the order to the missionary life. He settled in a place he called Dunbrody in 1880, but was forced to abandon it in 1882, and transferred his community to Mariannhill, Natal. In 1885 Mariannhill was erected into an abbey, with Father Pfanner as first abbot. During the next few years Father Pfanner founded seven mission stations throughout Natal, to provide for the needs of the natives. Between 1894 and 1900 nine stations were established in Natal and Cape Colony, and two houses in German East Africa. Later a station was erected in Rhodesia, and two more in Natal. The Congregation of Regulars, in 1909, issued a decree separating Mariannhill from the order of Reformed Cistercians, forming of it the Congregation of the Mariannhill Missionaries.