Rubya (or Rubyia) is the site of a Catholic Church mission to the south of Bukoba near the west bank of Lake Victoria in Muleba District, Kagera Region, Tanzania. A seminary was established at Rubya in 1904, one of the first in German East Africa, as it then was. The seminary still operates. There is a cathedral, a nursing school and a district hospital, all operated by the church.
Rubya is in the Kagera Region of north-western Tanzania, at an elevation of about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level. It is located on the edge of a sandstone escarpment with a view of Lake Victoria. The mission is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Muleba and 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Bukoba. The village of Nyakalembe is nearby, and provides shops and a Sunday market. The climate is mild, with temperatures in the 15 °C (59 °F) to 26 °C (79 °F) range. Annual precipitation is about 1,300 millimetres (51 in). The Rubya Seminary covers 1.3 square kilometres (0.50 sq mi).
In 1894 the Apostolic Vicariate of Victoria–Nyanza was split into the vicariates of Southern Victoria Nyanza, south of Lake Victoria, an eastern portion called "Upper Nile" that was given to the English Mill Hill Missionaries, and a northern portion called "Northern Nyanza" that covered the south and west of today's Uganda. John Joseph Hirth was appointed vicar Apostolic of Southern Victoria Nyanza, at that time part of German East Africa, on 13 July 1894. The junior seminary of Bukumbi was officially opened in 1903, and in 1904 was transferred first to Bukoba and then to Rubya, near the bishop's home. The St. Mary's Seminary opened in Rubya in November 1904.
Hirth was closely involved in the seminary program. According to some missionaries, training priests was more important to him than converting the people. Subjects included Latin, history, geography, writing, arithmetic, Gregorian chants and German. Hirth forbade all forms of physical punishment, humiliation or mockery of the students.
Hirth was increasingly interested in Rwanda, and starting in 1903 he brought many of the brightest Rwandan pupils to study at Rubya. In 1909 the major seminary was opened for pupils who had completed six years of the minor seminary. By 1911 there were 85 students at Rubya. Hirth moved to Rwanda in 1912, when the new Apostolic Vicariate of Kivu was formed, and Bishop Joseph Sweens became responsible for the Southern Victoria Nyanza vicariate and for the seminary. When a seminary was established in 1913 at Kabgayi in Rwanda, some of the students from Rubyia were transferred there. Thirty three seminarians in total returned to Rwanda, of whom eighteen were from the major seminary. The students, with a good understanding of Latin, found to their amusement that the old European priests were less than fluent in that language.
During World War I (1914-1918) the French White Fathers had to leave the seminary and return home, or find a more hospitable vicariate. In 1917 four priests were ordained at Rubya. Conditions deteriorated in the major seminary during the 1920s, with low morale and lack of discipline. In 1929 the major seminary was closed, and only the junior seminary continued. After his retirement, Sweens lived at Rubya among the seminarians until his death in 1950.
The first African rector of the seminary was Joseph Benedict Labre, who took office in 1961. 2,930 students had attended the junior seminary by 2004. Of these, 265 had become priests, seven had become bishops and one had been made a cardinal. As of 2004 there were 140 seminarians and 15 teachers. The junior seminary mainly relied for income on fees of US$120 per student per year, supplemented by some income from small-scale farming and a declining subsidy from Rome.
Rubya Hospital, which serves the district of Muleba, was opened in 1956. The hospital was founded by Laurean Rugambwa, then Bishop of Rutabo and later the first African cardinal of modern times. The future cardinal had received his secondary school education at the Rubya junior seminary. The hospital can provide basic medical services, and has an airstrip. In 1990 the hospital was having difficulty handling the growing number of HIV/AIDS patients, and realized there was a need for counselling patients and their families as well as providing clinical care. They contacted WAMATA, a self-help organization for people with AIDS, obtained support from an international donor, and in June 1991 started a pioneer program for home-based care. Village health workers are a key element of the program, all people with AIDS who have been trained in home care and in managing the illness. As of June 2011 the hospital was suffering from severe shortages of staff, equipment and supplies.
Apart from the hospital, seminary and cathedral, there is a school of nursing. These are all operated by the diocese. In 2011 the school of nursing had ten teachers and 113 pupils. There are three primary schools, a secondary school and vocational schools for carpenters, mechanics and builders. Rubya also has a post office. Fifteen minutes walk to the south there is a mosque and a Lutheran church.
- Gude 2010.
- Rutatekururwa 2004.
- Shorter 2003.
- Herbermann et al. 1912, p. 413.
- Shorter 2011, p. 290.
- Seminaries: Rubya Seminary.
- Shorter 2011, p. 291.
- Shorter 2011, p. 133.
- Rudakemwa 2006, p. 153.
- Gahungu 2007, p. 61.
- Linden & Linden 1977, p. 112.
- Rudakemwa 2006, p. 177.
- Gahungu 2007, p. 60.
- Gahungu 2007, p. 186.
- Gahungu 2007, p. 62.
- Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa.
- His Eminence Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa.
- Satpathy 2003, p. 103.
- Satpathy 2003, p. 104.
- Tambwe 2011.
- Rubya School of Nursing.
- "Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Gahungu, Méthode (2007). Former les prêtres en Afrique: Le rôle des Pères Blancs (1879-1936). l'Harmattan. p. 186. ISBN 978-2-296-04471-5. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Gude, Rupert (15 May 2010). "Travel in Kagera: RUBYA". Bradt's Tanzania Guide. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Herbermann, Charles George; Pace, Edward Aloysius; Pallen, Condé Bénoist; Thomas Joseph Shahan; John Joseph Wynne; Andrew Alphonsus MacErlean (1912). The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "His Eminence Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa". rc.net. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Linden, Ian; Linden, Jan (1977). Church and Revolution in Rwanda. Manchester University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7190-0671-5. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Rubya School of Nursing". Viafrica. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Rudakemwa, Fortunatus (January 2006). L'évangélisation du Rwanda: (1900-1959). Harmattan. p. 177. ISBN 978-2-296-42324-4. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Rutatekururwa, Fulgent (2004). "Rubya Seminary, Bukoba, Tanzania". Thomas Merton Center. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Satpathy, G.C. (2003-10-01). Encyclopaedia of AIDS. Gyan Publishing House. p. 103. ISBN 978-81-7835-132-2. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Seminaries: Rubya Seminary". Bukoba Diocese. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Shorter, Aylward (2003). "Bishop Streicher, Henri 1863 to 1952". Dictionary of African Christian. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Shorter, Aylward (2011-12-01). Les Pères Blancs au temps de la conquête coloniale: Histoire des Missionnaires d'Afrique (1892-1914). KARTHALA Editions. ISBN 978-2-8111-0575-4. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Tambwe, Anthony (24 June 2011). "Rubya hospital grapples with acute lack of staff, supplies". Daily News (Tanzania). Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Rubya Seminary Through Hundred Years: 1904-2004. 2004. Retrieved 2013-03-29.