Born on the 22nd of November 1935 in Gubevu, a tiny village in the Tsomo district, Nomzamo Ningiza grew up together with her siblings and went to school at Outsa Primary and finished her education at the Reyna Senior Secondary School with the then well-known “Senior Certificate”. During her time after school, she heard about a new sister congregation freshly founded by Bishop Rosenthal SAC in the Lady Frere District and that especially for Xhosa speaking people.
Nomzamo was fascinated by it and slowly she started to feel the call for a life in that new religious community. On the 8th of May 1964, she officially entered religious life within the Congregation of the Mother of Divine Love, better known as the Ntaba Maria Sisters, where she got the name of Sister Maria Jerome.
After her Noviciate, the enthusiastic Sister Jerome did her first profession on the 11th of January 1969 at Ntaba Maria Convent, where, three years later, she pronounced her final vows.
Her first mission work started in 1969 in Qoqodala, where she was from the very beginning involved in Pastoral work. The Priest in Charge recognised Sister Jeromes ability in giving catechism and, in 1973, he managed to get her sent to the Lumko Catechetical Centre which she left in 1974 to start a total new task in Mac Kay’s Nek by taking up the care for the candidates in the prepostulancy and in the meantime she stayed involved in the pastoral work which had become that familiar to her.
After six years in Mac Kay’s Nek, where she was so involved with young people, Sr. Jerome was transferred once again and this time it went to Idutywa, where, from 1980 till 1984, she would be boarding mistress for girls visiting the local High school.
After 5 years, she could use some spiritual uplifting and was sent in 1985 to the Maryville Centre of Spiritual Renewal in Port Elizabeth.
In 2008, Butterworth became her new residence where some challenges were waiting for her. This stay lasted only one year: her deteriorating health told her to take it a little bit easier and her return to the motherhouse in Ntaba Maria became inevitable in 2009.
Here she lived a quiet life till she became on the 1st of May 2013 the victim of a vicious stroke which, 27 days later turned out to be fatal. She left us on the 28th of May 2013.
On the 8th of june 2013, after a concelebrated Requiem Mass, presided by the bishop of Queenstown, Dabula Anthony Mpako, her mortal remains found a resting place at the own cemetery of the Ntaba Maria Convent.
As from so many other sisters who preceded her, we can mention the same thing about Sr. Jerome: She came, she stayed, she persevered and she went home for her eternal reward.
May she rest in peace!
Fr Edward Tratsaert SAC