Mother Gertrude de Henningsen, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption, opened the first convent school in South Africa in 1850. This school, situated in Grahamstown, was the first of many founded by the Sisters throughout South Africa. Today there are Assumption schools in the Eastern Cape and the Transvaal, while Sisters also teach in government and mission schools and are involved in adult education.
Besides working in the field of education, the Sisters undertake any work that the mission of the Church requires, such as nursing, catechetical instruction, development and pastoral work. In all these works they endeavour to fulfil their motto. "Adveniat Regnum Tuum" (Thy Kingdom Come) by helping people grow in the awareness that they are uniquely loved by God.
Assumption Grammar School - Ballynahinch
Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch, the only Assumption school in Ireland, was founded in 1933 by Mother Baptist McKenny. The school prospered and in 1936 was approved by the Ministry of Education. Over the years the school has grown in reputation. Success gained by pupils not only in examinations but also in literary and scientific competitions as well as in public speaking, sport and the arts are regular features of its life.
As in all Assumption schools, the pupils in Ballynahinch wear the Assumption Crest on their uniform. The cross on the crest is a symbol of the love of God, which is above everything and holding everything together. The anchor is a symbol of steadfastness, hope and security. The Southern Cross which links our school to its origins in the southern hemisphere, is a symbol of God's guidance and direction in our lives.
We also share the motto common to all Assumption Schools: "Ex Sola Virtute Honor"- (From virtue alone comes honour). The Latin word "virtus" stood for one of the prized qualities of the good Roman; it included the qualities of strength, loyalty and self discipline.
Former pupils have used such qualities and skills to make a significant and responsible contribution to society and the world of today. They are well represented in all the major professions.