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Sr. Christine – a visionary of Pallottine Mission in Tanzania

IMG 20221211 WA0007aOn 5th December 2022 at about 2 p.m. our dearly beloved Sr. Christine Bohr, who had been Provincial Superior for twenty-one years, went to the eternal reward she so ardently desired. She had often referred to the crucifix hanging on the wall and longed for the final presence with her Lord. She was one hundred and two years old.

Christine Bohr was born on 8th September 1920 in Merzig, Germany. She attended the local Elementary School from 1926 to 1934 and the Secondary Commercial School from 1934 to 1935. Then for three years she was a Candidate with the Pallottine Sisters in Limburg. Christine was accepted as a Postulant on August 16th, 1938 in Marienborn. On entering the Noviciate she was given the name of Sr. M. Lucinde. She was professed on August 16th 1942 and took her final vows in 1948. Thus, she was a Novice during the war years. At this time the Nazis had taken over the Pallottine Fathers House in Limburg and used it as a hospital. Many of our Sisters, including Sr. Lucinde, helped in the  Hilfskrankenhaus. Sister worked in the office doing secretarial work and admissions from 1942 until 1947. It was a difficult and dangerous time for all. No one knew whom they could trust, as the Nazis controlled the house and were anti-Catholic. Many Pallottine Fathers were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

In 1947 Sr. Lucinde returned to her studies. For two years she worked for her Abitur at the Marienschule/Grammar School in Limburg. She was transferred to Rochdale, England, in 1949 and studied at the Hollies Grammar School in Manchester where she received a Higher School Certificate. For the next three years she was a student at Manchester University where she was awarded a BA Degree in Latin and English. She then immediately began her teaching apostolate (1953-1968). For fourteen years she taught in the Convent Grammar School and was Deputy Head for many years. In 1958 she had a break for one year to study at London University and was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

After serving nine years as Provincial Superior (1968-1977), she returned to teaching. This time she taught Biology and Latin for eight years at Clapham College for Boys in South London (1977-1985). Sr. Christine was a hard working, dedicated student and teacher. She was always concerned for the development and well-being of her students. In a Reference we read: Sr. Christine was a “born” teacher. She was pre-eminently successful, both as a teacher and an educationalist;.. well respected by all she taught and whom she guided by her own personal integrity and high educational standards.

As Provincial Sr. Christine lived in London, and eager to keep herself informed, she enrolled in the esteemed Corpus Christi College (1969-70) and obtained a Diploma in Religious Education. Over the next ten years, despite her busy schedule, she studied and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Open University. Sr. Christine again served as Provincial Superior of the English Province from 1986 to 1998. During her terms of office, many significant events took place in the Province. After the painful process of closing Beechwood Convent Grammar School in 1968, and the new venture of opening Park Mount Home for the Elderly in  Macclesfield in 1983, the Sisters had to sell in 1997 both Beechwood Primary School and the Convent in Rochdale, where they had served the community for over seventy years.

In 1990 a joyful and historic occasion took place when a new Mission was opened in Tanzania, East africa. The Irish Province of the Pallottine Fathers who had been working in Tanzania for many years were eager to have Sisters on their Mission. A Tanzanian Pallottine wrote to our Generalate in Rome, and one visited our Convent in Rochdale to present their persistent requests for Sisters. Sister Christine visited Tanzania in February 1989, and for three weeks Fr. Basil Ikhula showed her around their mission and introduced her to many missionaries from International Congregations. Sr. Christine, although nearly seventy years old, was full of enthusiasm for the proposed mission and really was the founder of the Mission in Siuyu. She was a woman of great vision and worked vigorously to achieve the goal. In October of that year (1989) Sr, Christine returned with Sr. Mary McNulty to make tentative plans. The following June she accompanied the three pioneer missionaries – Sr. Stella Barelli, Sr. Hedwig Kaiser and Sr. Mary McNulty to Siuyu. For the next twenty years Sr. Christine supported and guided the new mission with her wisdom and prayer. She worked tirelessly to raise funds for the many projects and to support the education of girls, especially those from the underdeveloped rural areas. Nearly every year she went to her home parish in Germany for Mission Sunday and spoke about the progress being made by the Sisters in Tanzania and the need for funding. The mission brought new hope and life to the English Province and to date comprises the apostolic work and presence of over sixty Tanzanian Pallottine Sisters.

On September 8th 2022 Sr. Christine celebrated her 102nd Birthday. At the time she was the oldest Sister in our Congrgation and is an inspiration and encouragement to all of us. 
May God in His infinite Mercy give her eternal joy, light and rest.

Macclesfield: December 12th, 2022

Sr. Mary McNulty SAC
 Local Superior 

Photos: Sr. Izabela Swierad, SAC