South Africa

South Africa: Holy Queen Mary Assumed into Heaven is the Patroness of the Country

In South Africa, there is no shortage of shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Some of these places have even been rewarded by apparitions of the Virgin and are pilgrimage destinations renowned throughout Southern Africa.
A Marian congress was held in April 1952 in Durban, Natal, on the occasion of the centenary of the arrival in South Africa of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Archbishop Martin H. Lucas SVD, the then Apostolic Delegate to South Africa, proclaimed Queen Mary Assumed into Heaven as the patroness of the Church of South Africa.
Among the best known Marian shrines in South Africa, that of Our Lady of Ngome is about four hours drive from Durban in the Eshowe diocese. Mary, the Mother of God, has chosen Ngome, in the heart of ZuluLand, to become a place where one might find a little bit of Heaven is this busy, developing world. Mary made herself known under the title “Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High,” through her servant Sr. Reinolda May, a Benedictine nun (d. 1981).
Another well-known shrine is located in the Mariannhill diocese, Natal, in the parish of Kevelaer, today a place of annual pilgrimage. There is also a shrine in the Dundee diocese (south of Kwazulu-Natal), called Maria Ratschitz: Our Lady of Sorrows.
A place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary in South Africa is also to be found in Tsheseng, in the Bethlehem diocese in the province of Natal. Here, Mary is especially honored under the name "Immaculate Conception." She is called Our Lady of Bethlehem.
Also in Natal, about eighteen miles from Durban, there is the parish of Ntshongweni dedicated to "Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace." May 31st is the official day of pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Ntshongweni. Pilgrims come here from all over Southern Africa to pray the Blessed Virgin Mary.