“It was extremely rare in those days to visit the Holy Father… (When we met him) we greeted him, he blessed me and he asked if we could make a photo together. I still have the photo with me to this day. I am so happy that I knew him and now he is a saint,” said Sr. Petronilla.
First Salvatorian African Sister
Born in Bukoba, Tanzania, 1940, Sr. Petronilla decided to join the Sisters of the Divine Saviour (also known as the Salvatorian Sisters). As the first African Salvatorian Sister, the congregation took her to its formation house in Italy in 1962.
On one of his visits to Italy, then Tanzanian Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa (first African Cardinal) invited Sr. Petronilla together with another Sister, Laurina Kokutuna (deceased) to join him on a private visit to Pope Paul VI. It remains a memorable visit for Sr. Petronilla.
Founded in 1881, the Salvatorian Sisters, today, number 1200 worldwide and work in 28 countries including Tanzania, DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, Comoros and Zambia.
Sr. Petronilla – an inspiration to younger religious
At 78 years old, Sr. Petronilla, now back in Tanzania continues to work and live at the Provincial House of Masasi district which is close to the Mozambican border. She is a much loved ‘grandma’ with the younger novices of her congregation