Father Pierce, the founder of the Blessed Sacrament Church was a secular priest from Georgia, USA. He converted to Catholicism when introduced to inspiring Paulist missionaries, Fathers Walter Elliot and Alexander Doyle.
In 1930 Father Pierce drew up a charter for a modern religious community, modelled on the Paulist congregation, for priests to work in South Africa. Stationed in the Transvaal Diocese as a missionary, he was assigned to start a new parish. Due to poor health, Father Pierce asked Bishop David O’ Leary to send priests from America to serve in South Africa. Unfortunately, his request was declined as there was no suitable accommodation for priests in Johannesburg.
Motivated by the Bishop’s refusal, Father Pierce acquired land in Malvern for the construction of our existing church. He was actively involved in its design and funding, which he obtained both locally and abroad.
After four years, he informed the Bishop O’ Leary of the newly built church, which provided ample accommodation for four priests. In 1938, three Paulist Fathers; Henry Fisher, Claude Collins and Thomas Holloran were welcomed to Malvern parish.
In December 1938, Father Pierce handed over the parish to the Paulist Fathers before returning home to America where he passed away.
|Father Thomas Pierce