The families of Broni, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba celebrated their late mom, grandmother, aunt and sister Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni at just ended weekends in the town called Assin Asempanaye, located in the Central Region of Ghana.
The families together with sympathisers started the funeral rite with special Vigil mass of resurrection at Cass Maria, opposite Assin North senior High school, Asempanaye on the 15th of January 2021, Friday @ 8:00pm – 9:00 pm.
Grandmother, aunt and sister Mrs. Mary Broni was laid in state on the 16th of January 2021, that is Saturday at 4:30am – 8:30am at Cass Maria, again Asempanaye. Thanksgiving service also took place on the next day, Sunday, 17th January 2021 at Assin Asempanaye Catholic School Park
Thanks to all friends and sympathizers who were cordially presented.
Biography of Late Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni
Also known as Afua Bamfoaa, the late
Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni was born
at Assin Praso on Friday, May 7, 1937 to
Abusuapanin Akwasi Addae of the Oyokoo
family of Assin Praso and Assin Jakai and
Obaapanin Abena Anokyewaa of the
Ekuona family of Assin Asempanaye and
Adansi Ayaasi, both of blessed memory.
She became the first surviving child of her
parents, as the first three sons had died at
infancy. The ever-merciful God answered
her prayers for need of companionship
and gifted her with other siblings: Kodwo
Barima Addae, Yaw Adu-Mensah, Yaa
Nsowaa and Abena Manu.
Auntie Mary, as she was affectionately
called, spent her formative years with her
nuclear family and other members of her
father’s extended family at Assin Praso. Her
parents’ strong desire for an excellent
education for their first surviving child
forced them to take the otherwise
difficult decision to relocate young
Mary to live with her cousin, Madam
Yaa Mansah, a niece of Abusuapanin
Akwasi Addae, who was resident at
Assin Adubiase, near Assin Foso.
The young Mary Celestine, thus, began
her formal education at the Assin
Adubiase Basic School and in no time,
proved to be an outstandingly brilliant
student. Although quite reserved and
a bit shy by nature in those days, she
was the envy of every student. She
excelled tremendously and intelligently
contributed to all discussions in her class
to the admiration of all, especially, the
Headmaster Mr. William Grant Arthur.
She successfully completed Middle
School in 1955, and, contrary to her
dreams of pursuing further education,
she was soon thereafter given in marriage
to her headteacher, with whom she had
her first son, William Grant Arthur,
Junior. The marriage fell apart within a
short time, and Mary returned to Assin
Praso to be with her family.
Her plans for further education were
torpedoed again, as not too long after
her first marriage, her father gave her
hand in marriage to his good friend and
business partner, Chief John Yaw Broni,
a Royal from the Agona Gyaase House
of Assin Asempanaye and Assin Sibinso.
Chief John Yaw Broni was a successful,
prominent and wealthy businessman in
the Assin area at the time.
The marriage between Mary Celestine
and Chief John Yaw Broni was blessed
in January 1959 in the Catholic Church.
It was during the wedding ceremony
that Mary was baptized into the
Catholic Faith, confirmed and given
her first Holy Communion. Prior to this,
she was worshiping with her mother in the
Methodist faith. Soon after moving into
her marital home, Mary fell in love with
the Catholic Faith and became an active
member of the Singing Band, the Catholic
Women Association, the Saint Anthony’s
Guild, and the unofficial patroness to the
The first child of Opanin John Yaw Broni
and Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni did not
survive, but not too long thereafter, their
son, Anthony, was born. Anthony was
later followed by three girls in this order:
Cecilia, Theresa, and Veronica; and then
came Robert, the last born. From the very
onset, the couple decided that Auntie Mary
would be a “full-time”, “stay-home” mum,
to enable their children receive the full
attention needed for their upbringing. Even
though their home was just across the then
not-so-busy street, Auntie Mary was ever
present to accompany her children to school, and meet them on their way from school as they excitedly shared their experiences from school.
In the Broni household at Assin Asempanaye, Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni quickly endeared herself to the over a dozen children of her husband, and in no time, she became the popular “Auntie Mary”, a name that even her own biological children adopted. From the first moments of her marriage, she also became mother to several children of a wide range of ages and educational backgrounds.
In addition to her own children, several
others came to live with the Bronis; some, on their own volition, and others, at the request of their parents, with the aim of receiving quality formal education, financial support, sound discipline, and religious and moral upbringing. Indeed, there was hardly a dull moment in this big home of the Bronis.
There was always enough to eat and to
share in Auntie Mary’s house. For example,
the sound of pestles could be heard every
single day for the numerous people who
thronged her home to feast. Until the Assin
Asempanaye Catholic community could put
up its own local priests’ residence/rectory,
the Priests in Charge of the Outstations,
who at that time were Dutch Missionaries,
had a permanent room in the Bronis home,
and Mrs. Mary Celestine Broni was the
logical caterer for the visiting priests.
As a wife, Auntie Mary was very supportive
of her husband Opanin John Yaw Broni in his personal mission and passion of promoting education and the spiritual life of his people.
Consequently, she was by his side when
Opanin John Yaw Broni decided to single-
handedly put up the Assin Asempanaye
Catholic Church building as well as the
town’s Catholic Basic School, both of which
still stand today. This financial, social and
moral support undoubtedly greatly boosted
the quality of life, not only of the people
of Assin Asempanaye, but indeed those of
Assin Sibinso as well as the neighbouring
towns and villages.
Mary’s contributions to the success of
these projects were so remarkable that
her name was never left out whenever
the occasion came to praise those who
contributed in diverse ways towards the
education, the spiritual as well as the
social life of the Asempanaye community
and its environs.
No wonder, a good number of girls were
named after her upon their baptism in
the Church. It is a well-known fact that
until the late seventies, almost everyone
in the catchment area came to the school
built by the Bronis for formal education.
Not only did this contribute to the
wider network of classmates, friends and
colleagues of the youth at that time; but
it also helped to promote a very healthy
cooperative and collaborative spirit
among the people in the neighbourhood.
Auntie Mary became a staunch member
of the Catholic Church which she had
helped to build. She contributed in
no small ways towards the sustenance
and upliftment of the Church. Mary,
the mother of Jesus Christ was her
role model and she proved beyond all
reasonable doubts that she was following
her footsteps, as best as she humanly and
One unique characteristic of Mrs. Mary
Celestine Broni was her rare ability to live
in plenty and to equally thrive in times of
lack. This lovely, simple and humble wife
of a wealthy businessman, chief farmer, oil
merchant and car dealer, was, at a certain
point in her life, able to endure a very
simple life without the luxuries that she
had enjoyed in her matrimonial home for
over twenty years. This was when she lost
her husband Opanin John Yaw Broni in
The now widow started to make ends meet
by sewing and fixing people’s thorn clothes
in the local area. In all these, she never
gave up, but kept a smiling face, sharing
even when she barely had anything. With
deep faith in her God, she was able to
raise her children to become who they are
today; never remarrying after the demise
of her dear husband; and indeed, for
forty- one (41) years, she remained Mrs.
Mary Celestine Broni.
Having served for several years and in
different capacities in the Church, she
rose to become the President of the St.
Anthony’s Catholic Church at Assin
Asempanaye. Prior to that, she was the
Secretary to the Choir and Chaplain to
the Catholic Women Association. She
attended various meetings and seminars
on behalf of the Church in the Assin
Foso Parish, which later became Assin
Bereku Parish and other Parishes until her
strength began to fail.
As a mother, Mary was caring and loving.
Her care and respect for her husband and
children created a serene atmosphere in
her home and in the family. Some of her
most memorable moments were during
the marriage of her children, nieces and
grandchildren as well as the Deaconate
and Priestly Ordinations of Her son,
Anthony. Wherever there is peace, there
is progress. No wonder, her support and
prayers propelled her beloved children
to pursue education and play respectable
roles in society.
The construction of Casa Maria (House
of Mary) was an idea that she sold to her
children on her first visit to the United
States of America in 1994; a proposal
which was very well embraced and came
to fruition in 1999. Auntie Mary became
the Chief Executive Officer of the Casa
Maria Stores which form part of the
residence. It was upon her request that a Marian Grotto was constructed at Casa
Maria, to truly make it the House of Mary,
and to enable Auntie Mary continue her
faithful devotion to her Patroness, the
Blessed Virgin Mary and Mother of God.
Mary never left out other members of her
family in her supportive ways, especially
her sister, Victoria Addae (Abena Manu)
and her late brother, Police Inspector
Anthony Yaw Adu Mensah. She was
such a pious personality that children,
friends, classmates, church members and
all who came into contact with her could
not ignore these enviable traits. She had a
beautiful way of connecting with people,
and her family members always came to
Casa Maria to meet a new member added
by her. Some would stay on and go to the
Basic School or the Senior High School
across the street.
In her last few years, Auntie Mary relocated
to be with her son at the University of
Education, Winneba, in order that her
health would be more closely monitored
and supported. Even in those years, she
would return home to visit Casa Maria
from time to time to attend to family
or community gatherings. We pay ever
glowing tribute to the outstanding medical
team in Winneba including Dr. Prah at
the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, Dr.
Kwakye (of blessed memory),and Dr. Beth
Offei Awuku at the University Hospital
who provided all the needed medical
support until her demise.
The bereaved family has also been
privileged and blessed with such
extraordinary outpouring of genuine
grief, support and other expressions
of condolences and cooperation of
unspeakable proportions, not forgetting
to acknowledge such a large gathering
of sympathizers and well-wishers at this
funeral, for which the bereaved family is
In all, Auntie Mary lived a good life,
having reached the age of 83. Our mother
fought a good fight. She completed the
race and we know that the good Lord
will grant her the crown of life for her to
join the angels in Heaven to sing songs of
praises to their Creator.
We know and believe that when our
time has come, the Lord God Almighty
will call us too to reunite with our
dearest mother, sister, cousin, auntie,
grandmother, and faithful friend on that
holy mountain where He, the Lord God
of hosts, will destroy death forever.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE BIOGRAPHY BOOK OF THE BRONI’s FAMILY HERE
PHOTOS FROM THE CELEBRATION
Source : www.hotstoriesghana.com