Fr. Robert Harder - 100 years!

Fr. Robert Harder, MS, (District of Switzerland) celebrates his 100th birthday on April 7! He now lives in the community at Untere Waid in Morschwil, Switzerland.

He was born in Nederburen/St. Gallen. His parents were Matthew Harder and Magdalena Hasler. When he was nine years old, he read the biography of St. Teresa, and he dreamed of being a priest. In 1934 he entered the apostolic school at Untere Waid. He did his novitiate in Fryeburg in 1937, and studied theology in Fryeburg, graduating in 1944. Before graduation, he was ordained priest on June 29, 1943. Three years after ordination, he went to the mission of Angola. He was a missionary in Caluquembe in Tchindjendje and Hanha. (To find out where this is, please visit the map of the province of Angola in the Portuguese-language version of this website.) In Tchindjendje, in 1965, he began a program of catechesis and formation for women, which evolved into the religious Congregation of the Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. In 2004 his deteriorating health required that he return to Switzerland. In 2013, Fr. Celestino Muhatili, MS, interviewed him, and you can see part of this interview here...

Dearest Fr. Robert Harder,

First of all, special Greetings from the Eternal City!  As I am unable to greet you personally, I wish, through Fr. Belarmino, the Secretary General, to send you our very special Wishes, in the name of the General Council for the unique event of your 100th Birthday. Today, with you we are all grateful to the Lord for the gift of such a long life dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel in Angola, as a religious and Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette.

We know very well how much you loved that country and how much energy you have poured out in favor of the people you have met along the road of your priesthood. We are well aware as well of how you never fail to talk to all the visitors of Untere Waid, about the Mission of Angola, the shining jewel of the Swiss Province since 1946, the Centenary of the Apparition.

Today, you are surrounded by many friends, brother Missionaries, and the Sisters of the Congregation which you have founded, who wish to share with you the joys of this wonderful and truly special and Unique Feast Day. Everyone is here to express to you their sincere and heartfelt thanks for all the good that you have done and the spirit you have planted in their hearts and in so many persons that you have guided through your priestly and Salettine spirit in the land of Angola.

The Congregation, to which you belonged for around 77 years now, is very proud of you as a person and as a La Salette Religious, and invokes the Lord’s blessing that he continues to grant you good health, peace and serenity for all the days that you will be in our midst. May the Virgin of La Salette, continue to be close to you, as she has always been up to now, and guide you always.

A warm and fraternal embrace to you, and a special blessing, dearest Fr. Robert Harder, and “ad multos Annos!”


Fr. Silvano Marisa, M. S.

Superior General


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