For many years the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood run a small Convent guesthouse for visitors, however because of its age, size and general condition the decision was reached to erect a new place of hospitality. Based on the ideas of the architect Mr W. Schuetz, Tre Fontane Guesthouse was built between 1965 and 1967. Its unique name was intrically connected to the sisters’ history – “Tre Fontane is the name of a Trappist Monastery in Rome. According to tradition the site of this Monastery is the place where St Paul was beheaded and according to legend the severed head of St Paul bounced up from the ground three times and where it touched the ground three fountains sprang up. In the course of time the Monastery became a ruin but in 1868 Abbot Francis Pfanner and two brothers were asked by Pope Pius 9th to build up the ruined Monastery.”
On September 20th 1967 after much sorting, discarding and packing the sisters and some guests moved into the building. They were welcomed by Sr Edelfrieda and Sr Conrada Bauernfeind. On the next day Sr Conrada lit the sanctuary lamp in the new chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Trinity, on the 2nd floor and the first Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr Rochus.
Hospitality plays a significant role in the Rule of St Benedict. Therefore it was felt to be fitting to have a Guesthouse in the heart of Mariannhill. It was however also meant to support the Convent financially through its income. A few employees but mainly the sisters worked in all different departments, cooking, cleaning and gardening, thus preparing a ‘home’ for those who sought accommodation. From the beginning the atmosphere of the Guesthouse was characterized by a family spirit. Not only short-term visitors came to stay, but residents were welcomed as well. The sisters and their staff made it their task to offer joyous celebrations such as weddings, funerals, births or other festivities of the guests. On Christmas 1968 there were 49 children with their parents enjoying the peacefulness at Mariannhill.
After good two years, that is on 21. September 1969, an entry into the old chronicle reads, ”Tre Fontane is now an established, well-known guesthouse, crowded during the School-holidays and fairly well filled all through the year.” In 1969 the list of guests revealed a decidedly international trend with guests from many countries coming to stay. Since then the facility was regularly upgraded. A swimming pool was built, a generator and showers in rooms installed. All these additions were made possible thanks to the financial help of the CPS Province and other donors. Throughout that time a number of CPS Sisters dedicated themselves to make guests happy and keep the high standards that Tre Fontane came to be associated with.
Beginning of 2004 legal realities led to a change in ownership. A Trust was established which helped to “update” the guesthouse and in September 2008 the group “Amaqhawe”, a former group of St Francis College students, leased the house and property to run the business for the Sisters in the Spirit of our Father Founder, Abbot Francis Pfanner.
To read more, go to: www.trefontane.co.za or call under 031 700 2059