25th Anniversary of Nigeria Province (1990 - 2015)

137 years in Nigeria (1878 - 2015)


Silver Jubilee Celebration of our Province.

Greetings from the Provincialate!

One of the major activities planned in memory of this jubilee is the building of a retirement home for our sisters. After 137 years in Nigeria and 25 years as a Province, we are face with the reality and challenge of the increasing number of our aging Sisters. So one of the objective of this celebration is to raise fund towards the construction of a retirement home where our elderly Sisters will live and be cared for after years of hard work. Hence the theme for the fundraising: '...still bearing fruit when they are old, still full of sap, still green...' (Psalm 92:14)  We hope that we will each participate to make this come true.

Your support towards the realization of this project will be highly appreciated. Donations can be paid into the following acccount:




Account Number: 0006630457

137 Years of OLA Sisters Presence in Nigeria...  A Humble beginning .....The journey so far...

"I found myself obliged to establish a little Congregation of Sisters for our Mission." (Fr. Augustine Planque, SMA. Founder, OLA Sisters)

The Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles was founded in Lyons, France in 1876 by Rev. Fr. Augustine Planque co-founder of the SMA Fathers. His inspiration was the need for Missionary Sisters on the West Coast of Africa where priests of his young Society were establishing mission stations. The priests had come to realise that for the evangelization of women in Africa,women missionaries were essential. In 1873, the Franciscan Sisters of Couzon came to Lagos and opened a convent in Broad Street. They came on the request of our founder to hold the forth for the OLA Sisters yet to be founded.

Two years later, the first OLA Sisters arrived in Lagos in 1878. Their task was a difficult one and it took the most courageous and daring missionaries to venture to the West African Coast which was then regarded as having a dangerous climate. In the beginning the death toll was high and most of the Sisters died young from tropical illnesses for which there was no remedy. Today their graves in Lagos, Oyo, Lokoja, Asaba, Abeokuta, Topo Island and Ibadan bear witness to their self-sacrificing love of God and for the Church in Nigeria. 

When the Sisters first arrived Lagos, their special concern was the education and spiritual formation of women. They were aware, as we are today that the welfare of the Church and indeed of society in general depends on the quality of life in the home which in turn depends on the quality of its women. And so the Sisters adopted the cause of the African women: visiting the houses and the market places, preparing girls for marriage and home-making. Training in the domestic arts and virtues of the Christian home was a priority for these girls who as future mothers would have almost entire responsibility for the up-bringing of the children. This led to the opening of many schools, orphanages and clinics in and around Lagos. 

From Lagos the pioneering work was extended inland. Before 1900 they had small projects i.e schools, clinics and orphanages in Topo Island, Badagry, Oyo Town and Abeokuta. On the Niger side or midwest, they reached Asaba, Lokoja, Agenebode and Illah.  The OLA Sisters pioneered the education of women in Nigeria.

Some Important Dates/Landmarks in the history of the OLA Sisters in Nigeria.

1873: St. Mary's Convent Broad Street, Lagos was opened by Franciscan Sisters of the Propagation of the Faith (Couzon) on the request of the OLA Founder. 

1876: OLA Congregation was founded in Lyons, France by Fr. Augustine Planque, SMA.

1878: The first OLA Sisters arrived in Lagos. They were welcomed to St. Mary's Convent, Broad Street, and taught in the school.

1885: The first OLA foundation outside Lagos was started in Abeokuta by Sr. Veronique and two other Sisters. They canoed through the Ogun River to Abeokuta to work alongside the SMA Fathers.

1886: A dispensary was established in Abeokuta. This later became a Hospital in 1895 - "Sacred Heart Hospital, Lantoro, Abeokuta".

1886: The OLA Sisters sailed to Lokoja and opened a Convent there. The SMA Fathers were already there since 1884. They later left the place in 1891. Three Sisters died and were buried in Lokoja.

1888: The Sisters came to Asaba from Lagos and established a boarding school for girls, a centre for informal education where adult education, needlework, home management, cookery and child care were taught. They also cared for the aged and sick in their homes.

1892: From St. Mary's Convent, Lagos, the Sisters sailed to Topo Island. The SMA Fathers had established a large farm there and the sisters were to care for the women and girls of the settlement. They built a convent boarding school where the women and girls were educated and prepared for a happy Christian marriage. By 1960 when the Sisters left Topo, nine Sisters had died and were buried there.

1894: Three Sisters went from Asaba to establish a Convent in Illah, Delta State.

1896: Three Sisters also went from Asaba to establish a convent in Agenebode.

1896: The Sisters also opened a convent in Oyo to work alongside with the SMA Fathers. By 1912 when the sisters moved from Oyo, five sisters had died and were buried there.

1898: The Sisters built a second girl's school at Itolo, Lagos. This girl's day school was started by Mother Samuel Kelly. This school later developed into Mount Carmel boarding and day school, and moved to Ebute-Meta in 1918.

1901: The Sisters went to Ibadan and opened a convent. This same year, on the 6th of March, the Congregation was raised to the status of a Congregation of Pontifical right by the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propanganda Fide.

1928: Four Sisters left Asaba to establish a convent in Warri.

1930: OLA Sisters had already established about eleven Girl's Primary Boarding Schools and one Teachers' Training College in Nigeria.

1939: OLA Convent was opened in Benin City.

1950: OLA Convent was opened in Agbor.

From 1878 to date, the OLA Sisters established missionary works (Schools, Hospitals/Clinics, Pastoral and Social works) in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Badagry, Ijebu-Ode, Asaba, Benin City, Sapele, Effurun-Warri, Ughelli, Ubiaja, Agbor, Ogwashi-Uku, Kaduna, Jos, Zawan, Bacita, Papiri, Kwimo, Bauchi and Abuja.

Development of Some Primary Schools

1873: St. Mary's Convent School Broad Street, Lagos.

1898: Convent Girls' day School Itolo, Lagos.

1908: The girl's day School became Mount Carmel boarding and day School.

1918: Mount Carmel Boarding and Day School moved to Ebute-Meta, Lagos.

1940's: Convent School Asaba.

1944:  Convent School, Abeokuta.

1950: OLA Private School Yaba, Lagos.

1951: O.L.A Primary School Jos.

1954: St. Bernadette Nursery/Primary School, Abeokuta.

1956: MaryHill Convent School Iwo Road, Ibadan.

1959: St. Anne's Nursery/Primary School Kakuri, Kaduna State.

1962: Emotan Private School Benin-City, Edo State. Now OLA Private Nursery/Primary School Airport Road, Benin City.

1963: Sacred Heart Private Nursery/Primary School Sabo/Onireke, Ibadan.

1967: Maryland Convent Private School, Lagos State.

1967: Regina Mundi (O.L.A) Private School Asaba, Delta State.

2002: O.L.A Nursery/Primary School Tafawa-Balewa, Bauchi State.

2004: St. Mary's Private Nursery/Primary School Papiri, Niger State.

2006: Pere Planque (O.L.A) Nursery/Primary School Agbor, Delta State.


Development of Some Teachers' Training Colleges (T.T.C)

1928: Mount Carmel T.T.C (Women) Ebute-Meta, Lagos.

1934: Mount Carmel was moved to Yaba as St. Agnes' T.T.C.

1944: Sacred Heart T.T.C (Women) Ubiaja, Bendel State. (Now Edo State)

1948: OLA T.T.C (Women)  Kaduna.

1954: Maryfield T.T.C (Women) Ughelli, Bendel State. (Now Delta State)

1957: OLA T.T.C (Women) Ibadan, Oyo State.

1958: OLA T.T.C (Women) Akwanga, Plateau State.

In order to help young girls and women unable for formal education that will ensure them job opprotunity to be self-reliant and independent, the OLA Sisters established Vocational training centres (formal and informal) around the country. In these centres, the young women are taught Catering,Cookery, Home Economics, Sewing, House keeping, basic accounting etc. One of such centre, was St. Brigid's Social Centre which was opened in 1963 at Ibadan.

Development of Some Secondary Schools

 1933: St. Theresa's College started in the Compound of St. Mary's Broad Street Lagos. It was transfered to Oke-Ado in Ibadan in 1946.

1942: Queen of Apostles College Kakuri, Kaduna.

1954: Mary Mount College Agbor, Delta State.

1954: OLA Secondary School Yaba, Lagos.

1954: OLA Secondary School Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

1955: Queen of Apostles Secondary School Ibadan.

1957: MaryWood Secondary Commercial School Apapa, Lagos.

1957: MaryWay Secondary Commercial School Odo-Ona, Ibadan.

1962: St. Maria Goretti Secondary School Benin-City.

1965: St. Teresa's Girls' Secondary School Ughelli, Delta State.

1965: St. Mary's Girls' Secondary School Iwo, Oyo State.

1966: O.L.A. Girls High School Effurun-Warri, Delta State.

1967: St. Brigid's Secondary School Asaba, Delta State.

1969: Maryland ComprehensiveSecondary School Ikeja, Lagos.

2008: O.L.A Premier College Aruogba, Benin-City.

OLA Sisters Involvement in Health Care in Nigeria.

1886: A dispensary in Abeokuta.

1895: Sacred Heart Hospital Abeokuta.

1939: Maternity Clinic (now St. Joseph's Hospital) Asaba, Delta State.

1943: St. Philomena's Maternity Hospital Benin-City.

1943: O.L.A Hospital Jos, Plateau State.

1951: O.L.A Hospital and Orphanage Zawan, Plateau State.

1956: O.L.A Hospital (Oluyoro) Oke-Offa, Ibadan.

1956: St. Gerard's Hospital Kakuri, Kaduna.

1958: St. Mary's Hospital Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State.

1958: O.L.A Hospital Akwanga, Plateau State.

1962: Maternity Hospital (now St. John's Hospital) Agbor, Delta State.

1972: St. Brenda's Hospital Bacita, Kwara State.

1973: O.L.A Hospital Ikire, Oyo State.

1977: St. John of God dispensary & Primary Health Care Centre Papiri, Niger State.

2000: O.L.A Health Care Centre Kwimo, Niger State.

2002: O.L.A Clinic & Health Care Centre Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi State.

Many of the OLA established Primary/Secondary Schools, Teachers' Training Colleges and Hospitals/Clinics, have been handed over to the local ordinaries and indigenous Religious Congregations to free OLA Sisters for areas of more needs. Some were taken by the government.

25 Years since the Inauguration of O.L.A Nigeria Province.

In 1931 when Ireland became a Province, it was given special responsibility for missions in Nigeria and Ghana - English-Speaking African Countries.

With the development of missionary vocation amoung the African youth, an OLA Novitiate was opened in 1958, and the first four Nigerian postulants were received into the Novitiate in Ibadan.

When Nigeria manifested the signs and seeds of readiness in terms of numerical strength, administrative maturity and financial viability, the Congregation decided to initiate her into the corridor of autonomy by creating the "Region of Nigeria" in 1986. The Region then consisted of 20 Communities grouped into four geographical entities called "Areas" or "Units". The Region era set into motion the machinery that ushered in the birth of the Province.

Another significant milestone in the process was reached in 1990 when a new Province of OLA Congregation was erected in Nigeria. During the Assembly held in Lagos, the OLA Sisters elected Sr. Mary Anthony Ogunkorode the first Provincial Superior of the New Province of Nigeria. Sr. Mary Anthony Ogunkorode was one of the pioneer postulants who entered the OLA Novitiate in 1958. The New Nigeria Province was officially inaugurated in Lagos on 5th May, 1990. Nigeria then became the Seventh Province of the Congregation with the Provincial Headquater in Maryland, Lagos. At the time of the inauguration in 1990, Nigeria had a numerical strength of 21 Novices, 17 Postulants, 38 Nigerian OLA Sisters and 50 Non-Nigerian OLA Sisters. The baton of leadership was handed on by the Province of Ireland to our newly elected Nigerian Provincial Superior and her Council. Henceforth, the administration of the OLA work in Nigeria and the missionary outreach to other parts of Africa became the responsibility of Nigeria Province.

Today, 25 years after, Nigeria Province has 11 Postulants, 17 Novices, 119 Nigerian OLA Sisters. 95 Nigerians and 6 Non-Nigerians work in the Province. While the remaining 24 Nigerians are on Mission ad extra in Argentina, Benin Republic, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Tanzania, Tchad and Togo. There are 21 OLA Convents spread in ten States in Nigeria. They are:

Lagos State:

1. OLA Provincialate, Maryland.

2. OLA Convent, Maryland.

3. St. Mary's Convent, Broad Street.

4. OLA Convent, Yaba.

5. OLA Convent, Ajara-Badagry.

Oyo State:        

6. St. Theresa's Convent, Oke Ado, Ibadan.

7. OLA Convent, Oluyoro Oke Offa, Ibadan.

8. MaryHill Novitiate, Idi-Ape, Ibadan.

9. Bethany House, Idi-Ape, Ibadan.

Ogun State:           

10. OLA Convent Itesi, Abeokuta. 

11. OLA convent, Ijebu-Ode.

Delta State:            

12. OLA Convent, Asaba.

13. OLA Convent Boji Boji Owa, Agbor.

14. OLA Convent, Effurun-Warri. 

Edo State:           15. OLA Convent, Airport Road Benin City.

Kaduna State:    16. OLA Convent, Kakuri-Kaduna.

FCT Abuja:         17. OLA Convent Life Camp, Abuja.

Plateau State:    18. OLA Convent, Zawan.

Bauchi State:     19. OLA Convent, Tafawa-Balewa.

Niger State:       20. OLA Convent, Papiri.

                       21. OLA Convent, Kwimo.















:: OLA Worldwide ::
Our History in Nigeria
Founded in 1876 by Fr. Augustine Planque SMA, the mission of the O.L.A. Sisters is to continue the work of evangelization which the Apostles received from the Lord. With the zeal for mission, O.L.A. Sisters arrived Nigeria in the year 1878 thus, becoming the first group of women Religious in Nigeria.
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