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The Marianhill Monastery

The Marianhill Monastery - Durban Metro & Durban, KwaZulu-Natal  © Andrew Moore, Copyright

The Marianhill Monastery

The Marianhill Monastery was established in 1885, after a long search for suitable land, by Father Francis Pfanner, an Austrian monk. The first Catholic missionaries to arrive in Durban found that there were already groups of traders with strong protestant ties established in the area. After struggling to find suitable land in the growing town, they stationed themselves in the hills surrounding Durban, from where they Later went on to establish many missions in the province.

Soon the community totaled 285 monks, and held the status of the largest Trappist settlement in the world. The Marianhill monastery was built in the Romanesque Revival style. The complex, in the "valley of the monks" is located near Pinetown, and now includes the monastery, church, campanile, workshops and museum, a repository, sisters' convent with vestment department, the Jabulani Self Help Centre, St Francis College and St Joseph's Cathedral. The Monastery Retreat House, which looks across the valley of the Umhlatuzana River to the hills beyond, is open to both religious and lay people seeking spiritual guidance, enrichment and renewal.

Other places of interest within the Marianhill Monastery include:

  • St Mary's Hospital - three hundred beds, a maternity section, operating theatre, out patient's clinic and nurses training centre
  • St Vincent Children's Home
  • The Gatehouse, Monastery vegetable garden, a blacksmith's forge and carpentry shop
  • Tea garden, arts and crafts shop
  • The Sacred Heart Chapel
  • The Fontane Guest House

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