The Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis, inspired by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi and begun by Maria Hueber, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order; are an international religious Congregation founded on
September 12, 1700; of Pontifical Right with the Mother House in Brixen and Central Office in Rome.
With the help of Fr. Isidor Kirnigl OFM, Maria Hueber, Mother Beginner, responded to the needs of her time by dedicating herself to the education of the underprivileged girls of her society in Brixen, Italy.
The Sisters came to Cameroon in response to the request of Mgr. Peter Rogan, the then Apostolic Prefect of British Cameroon, and of Fr. Francis Figl, MHM in Shisong Mission. The five pioneer Sisters arrived Shisong on October 16, 1935. Their mission objective was to attend to the health and educational needs of the people in order to foster integral evangelization. Thus the Sisters started a maternity, dispensary, school and orphanage in Shisong—ministries which have continued to be shared in other parts of Cameroon, notably the expansion to the northern part in 1972.
The missionary dimension of the Cameroon Province surged after the first African Synod with a renewed call to Africans to be auto-missionaries. Thus in 1998 the first mission in La Yole (Republic of Central Africa) was opened; followed by (Lafia) Nigeria in 2007 and Congo Kinshasa in 2009. These missions have strengthened the impulses of the Province in various ways.
Our 2013 Provincial Chapter discerned our charism today to live contemplatively as Apostolic Religious in the present moment so as to recognize the will of God in the signs and needs of our time; while the mission summons us to be an empowering presence through our various ministries wherever we are. We draw strength from the incarnation, Paschal Mystery and Eucharist as we seek to live the Gospel values of conversion, simplicity, joy, hospitality and compassion. Our major apostolates are healthcare, education, pastoral/Social Work, Catering, and Secretariat work.
Today we are 303 Sisters, living in 41 communities in the following Dioceses in Cameroon: Bafoussam (2), Bamenda (9), Buea (2) Douala (1), Edea (1), Garoua (1), Kumbo (9), Mamfe (2), Ngoundere (2), Yagoua (3) and Yaoundé (1). In the Republic of Central Africa, we are in Bouar (1) and Berberati (1). Nigeria: Lafia (1) Congo: (2) Morocco: Rabat (1).
Outside Africa, the TSSF are present in Italy, Austria and Bolivia.
SPIRITUALITY OF THE TSSF
We consecrate ourselves to God through the vows of Poverty, Obedience and Chastity. We live
according to the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and in the spirit of Maria Hueber, our mother Beginner, who responded to God's call, dedicated to the education of the under-privileged girls.
Our Core Values Includes: Conversion, Contemplation, simple life style, joy, hospitality, compassion, availability and accountability.
Some of the Franciscan Symbols commonly used:
A white cord: A sign of membership in the Franciscan Family. The three nodes symbolize Chastity, temperance, and obedience.
The Franciscan crown (Rosary) or the seven Joys of Our Lady: as revealed to a Fr San Diamiano BI Ganciscan Novice in 1422 by Our Lady.
The San Damiano Cross: Spoke to St. Francis in a little Church in Assisi, "Francis, go rebuild my Church".
The entire Congregation has its headquarters in Rome with Mother Maria Theresia Oberwalder as the Mother General.
The Cameroon Provincial Leadership Team for 2013-2019 period is made up of (from right to left);
Sr. Roberta Feh – Provincial Superior
Sr. Mary Patrick Senge – Councilor for Formation
Sr. Xaveria Ntenmusi – Councilor for Health
Sr. Mediatrix Wirba – Councilor for Education, Pastoral and Justice and Peace
Sr. Odette Ngong – Provincial Vicar and Councilor for Secretaries and Bursars