Hardenberg Priests

There are many other religious characters who came between the years 1907 and 1950. They did many things to build the place, but to save time and because the Hardenberg congregation we have here today, knows and has worked with the latest, we then jump to those.

We start with Father Godshalk. Those who still remeber him, say, Father was very strong in his action against heathen practious still doing most of the work on horseback, he used to go to places where he heard singing at night. He would be very happy when he found that the noise was the singing that accompanied kaffircorn threshing when he had thought it was for some heathen practices.

He also rounded his Christian communities, on his horse, on Sundays, while his assistant priest Father Bernadine offered Mass. In this way he was able to stop practices of staying at home on Sundays, doing things like washing.

When he left, Father Bernadine took over. Fr Bernadine was nicknamed Ntate Thola. Indeed, still wateres run deep. Can Hardenberg forget him. He built this back extension of the church and these steps that have helped us as an Altar today. We have among us here many educated people who were helped by him and who were born in the Adam Eve clinic of those days, built by him. And, looking across, we see a fully fleshed Senior School named after him, Tholang SSS. The story of how it came to be centres round the name and work of Ntate Thola, Bernadine Dore.

There was once Father Vianney who passed away in the late 60s. He was a highly dedicated priest. Mostly involved in the Hardenberg outstations as Tholas assistant. Works at St Anthony and St Francis, he left his spirit among the people of those places. So, the priest who succeded him, Father Calistus used to say, there is not much drive needed among those. Father Vianney’s spirit is still driving them. Father Calistus succeded him. He was just as hot as the man he succeeded. Khoapa Naledi and St Paul’s St Calistus are some of the works of Father Calistus. “Long live the spirits of Father Vianney, Fr Calistus, long live”.

There had also been Father Egbert called Rabasotho. He extended the priest’s house and the Basothos do not forget him. There was also Father Thomas Tshabalala. He stayed for a short time but he tried to bring Hardenberg on … with other catholic churches, by having a Grotto, the start he made of this has made us know that our Patron Saint here, is “The Immaculate Conception of Mary”.

During Father Bernadines’ time there came to be on Brother Sydney. Brother helped the mission to bring together many girls whom he taught sewing and knitting. There is a very strong sewing club at Hardenberg. They even sew uniforms for schools. The origin of all that, is Brother Sydney.

Then, comes the Father who is carrying the heavy burden of the days work. He carries the brunt of the attack. Father Bill, soft speaking , but we know, he wants the work done. I wonder if Father ever gets time to rest with his dedication to his dear outstations Masakala, Mension, Hebron, and St Bernards with us at home, Hardenberg waiting for him to come and keep home fires burning. We cannot thank them sufficiently. We ask our Heavenly Father to do it!