History of the Sodality in Botswana

The Sodality started in Mahalapye in 1981, under the direction of Fr Casmier, who was appointed by Bishop Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi. The idea of having a sodality was the brainchild of Mrs Esther Nyathanga, who at the time had visited Zimbabwe, where she learnt of the sodality. She believed it was a good idea then to bring together Catholic ladies who were not part of any sodality. At its onset the sodality was named Confraternity of Young Catholic Women (CYCW).

The Sodality grew from its origins in Mahalapye to Mogoditshane and thereafter to other parts of the country in the south. As it grew the name was changed from Confraternity of Young Catholic Women to the Sodality of Mary. The current name which is The Sodality of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, has been adopted to conform to the naming convention within the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference area.

The Sodality’s uniform at the start was a black skirt worn with a green blouse. This also changed with the passage of time to the current sky blue, in line with similar sodalities in neighbouring South Africa and Lesotho.

The Constitution governing the Sodality and its members was conceptualised in 1996, started to be used in 1998, with the formal documented constitution adopted in August 2004.

Since its inception the Sodality has been under the successive guidance of five Spiritual Directors being, Frs Casmier, Jacob Salowe, Elmer Kwelegano, John Hamati and Steven Molefi.

In 1998 the single national Diocese of Botswana was split into the Diocese of Gaborone and the newly established Vicariate of Francistown. As such, the sodality followed suit and from 2003 was run by two Executive Committees, representing the Diocese and Vicariate. The Spiritual Directors appointed at the time were Fr John Hamati and Fr Elmer Kwelegano for the Gaborone Diocese and Francistown Vicariate, respectively.

The current Leadership of the Sodality in the Gaborone Diocese, under the spiritual direction of Fr Molefi, comprises:

Catholic Engaged Encounter in the Gaborone Diocese was established in July 2014, with the help of the Pretoria Diocese under the leadership of Thato & Grace Kewakae and Father Vitalis Moji Phakisi. The presenting team from Pretoria ran the first two weekends in Botswana, and were instrumental in assisting the Gaborone Diocese CEE to set up structures including training, which they did in conjunction with couples and Priests from Johannesburg in February 2015.