MY LIFE STORY – A BRIEF AUTOBIOGRAPHY (MRS FRANCES PRAH PGL)
An unedited AUTOBIOGRAPHY dictated by Mama for her 90th birthday celebration( 4th October 2014)
I was born on 4th October 2014 to the late Mr Albert Bernard Quainoo originally of Tuako and Mrs Josephine Quainoo of Akatakyiwa/Moree. I was named Ama Fosua and christened Frances Quainoo as 4th October is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. I am the first of eight children; four girls and four boys.
I began my education at St. Peter’s Primary School, Kumasi in 1931 but in 1934, transferred to the Catholic Girls’ school, St. Bernadette formerly Roman Girls School at Mbrom. From there, I continued my elementary education at St. Mary’s Convent, Cape Coast run by the O.L.A Sisters from 1937 to 1940. I enrolled at Our Lady of Apostles Training College at Cape Coast from January 1940 completing in December 1944. After obtaining my Teacher’s Certificate ‘A’ I was posted to St. Bernadette Girls’ School (my alma mater) where I taught from 1945 to 1948.
I got married to the late Aloysius Edward Prah who was also a teacher, on 1 May 1948 and we started our married life in Oda where I taught at Oda Catholic School as well as Akim Swedru Catholic School. After almost two years, I was transferred back to the Catholic Girls’ School in Kumasi. After another year in that school, I was transferred to Bekwai where my husband was working. As fate will have it, I lost my husband through a motor accident on 26 October 1952 after which I was transferred back to Kumasi.
Between 1953 and 1957, I taught at St. Paul’s, Amakom and St. Joseph’s Boys’ Schools in Kumasi but was later transferred to St. Theresa’s Catholic Girls’ School in Bechem as the Head Teacher. After 3 years, I was transferred back to St Paul’s, Kumasi. I also taught at Yaa Achiaa Girls’ school before being transferred again to head the Pankrono L/A Girls’ School.
As you may have realized by now, I suffered lots of transfers as a teacher but I never once complained because it was one of the hazards of the job.
From Pankrono L/A, I was posted on promotion to Juaso District Education Office as the Circuit Officer. After about one and a half years, I was appointed as the first Ashanti Regional Nursery Organiser. It was during my tenure of office that most public schools in Ashanti started nursery and kindergarten schools.
When I retired, I continued to work in the educational sector for the love of teaching; Heading Royal International School and Modern International School, all in Kumasi. In 1992, after two (2) and eight (8) years of service respectively, with these two schools, I left to start up my own school; Nana Quainoo Memorial school which I named after my late father and now situated at Boadi, Kumasi.
God has been my guide all these years so I have never relented in worshiping and serving Him through various activities in and outside the church. I served for nine continuous years on the Cathedral, now St. Peter’s Basilica, Parochial Council Executive Board and served as the President at a point. I was the president of the Cathedral Women’s Council now known as Women’s Affairs. It was during my tenure of office as the Women’s Affairs President that the Cathedral started drawing programmes of activities for all women instead of individual women societies. This was done with the support and encouragement of Very Rev. Fr. Donkor who was then the Cathedral Administrator. Other roles played in the Church include being the Secretary to the Pastoral Council Financial and Education Committees; President of St. Peter’s Theresian World Ministry; President of Fanti New Town, Bompata, Roman Hill Catholic Community; Executive Member of Sacred Heart Confraternity; Secretary and later Chairman of the Board of Governors of St Peter’s Girls’ Vocational School and Secretary to the hospitality sub-Committee that planned Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ghana. I was also instrumental in the establishment and registration of Martyrs of Uganda Preparatory School at the Ghana Education Services when I served on the school’s board.
Even though I was involved in a lot of church activities, my membership of the Ladies’ of Marshall was the most profound. I was a foundation member of the Thais Lodge which later joined the Catholic Daughters of Ghana to form the Ladies of Marshall. I rose through the ranks becoming the Noble Lady of Court 1 and later the first Grand Secretary when the Grand Court was inaugurated on 10 June 1972. I held this position for 6 years during which period the Society grew by 19 Courts in Ghana, Togo and Liberia. In 1984, I was elected unopposed as the fourth Grand Lady of the Ladies of Marshall.
For my hard work in contributing to the up-liftment of women in the Minor Basilica and the Kumasi Diocese of the Catholic Church in general, I was given a Papal Award during the celebration of the Great Jubilee year in 2000.
In addition to the above, I served as the President for Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) from 1968 to 1972.
Throughout my life, I have cherished the family that God has given me and for every additional member, I sing praises to Him for His kindness. Even though my husband died at an early age, I have been blessed with four (4) highly educated and humble children, fourteen (14) grandchildren and eight (8) great-grandchildren.
On this memorable occasion, I sincerely thank everyone here present and all persons dead and alive including my parents, siblings, friends, members of the numerous societies that I have been a member of but am no longer actively involved, my former work colleagues including all those who in diverse ways, came into my 90 years journey on this earth.
I say a VERY BIG thank you to all my in-laws especially daughters in law, Naana and Dora, as I affectionately call them, for the support they have given to their husbands, my sons in the role they have and continue to play in life of the entire family.
To Gertie, Kwame, Jojo and Effie, I cannot thank you enough for the immense contribution you have made to my health and comfort in this life. To you and your spouses, I say “The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace.
To my grandchildren and great grandchildren, the mere sounds of your voices and sight of you bring joy to my heart. To all of you and those yet unborn, I say The Lord give you the grace to fear and serve Him always so that you will grow in His love and become useful and responsible citizens of Ghana.
I am repeating my 80th birthday wish which is for you to find ways to organize frequent family re-unions to enhance Love and Unity among my descendants (The Prah Family) for Unity is Strength.
May the Good Lord Bless all of you. Amen.