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Altar Frontal and Lectern Covers    |    Chasubles African    |    Chasubles Green    |    Chasubles Purple    |    Chasubles Red    |     Chasubles White    |    Copes    |    Flags    |     African Stoles    |    Green Stoles    |    Purple Stoles    |    Red Stoles    |     White Stoles


‘The Liturgical Vestment Department got a new start in December 1893 through a novice, who happened to be a Needlework Teacher.’ (Chronicle of Mariannhill)

Over the years, various sisters had held the responsible job of continuing the work started so early on at Mariannhill. By 1970, the Liturgical Vestment Department consisted of two rooms. In the upper room, the sewing and cutting was done, while the embroidery frames were accommodated at the lower level, next to the former mosaic room. At that point in time under the leadership of Sr Ildefonsi, Sr Alice as well as Juliana Mkhize, who had worked in the Department since 1939, and Mildred shared the manifold daily tasks. By October however, the responsibility was handed to Sr Gereon Custodis, who had arrived in Mariannhill.

In 1973, a weaving loom was borrowed from the weaving project at St Michael’s Mission, which was placed in the adjacent St Joseph Hall. Later a new, large cupboard was made with glass windows for the vestments. Because of lack of space it was also placed in the hall next door. As orders increased, more staff was employed and the rooms became crowded. Thus, St Joseph Hall was incorporated as part of the Embroidery Department. In 1975, renovations took place. The rooms were repainted; new curtains put up, and the former tearoom next to the hall converted into an office.

Before the 1970s most customers were Catholics, but that changed with the number of Anglican and Lutheran clients increasing considerably. Then Methodist, Presbyterian and Ethiopian Ministers as well as Dutch Reformed Church clergymen placed their order. That also applied to members of the Independent Churches of South Africa. For many Bishops orders for vestments, mitres, albs and chalbs, stoles, chasubles, cottas etc. were executed, often including beadwork and ethnic designs. Vestments find their way to all different African but also overseas countries.

In 1985, Sr Gereon finished her part-time studies with UNISA and received the BA Fine Arts. In later years sisters from various Congregations were training in making vestments. That included various CPS sisters from the Congo, Zimbabwe, and East Africa. When Sr Aphra Mary arrived after having finished her Diploma in Fashion Design in Durban, a workroom was prepared for her. The big embroidery room was extended, thus freeing more space for the showroom.

At present two sisters and eighteen employees who come daily form the surrounding area work in the Department. In 2006, the Liturgical Vestment Department became a Trust with Sr Gereon. From 2013 Sr Aphra Mary Duma is now the Liturgical Vestment Manager.

Contact can be made with the Liturgical Vestment Department by calling the following number: 031 -700 5401.