St Francis Health Centre celebrates a healing legacy

Balancing and healing the body, mind and soul was the vision of Anneliese Cowley, legendary founder of the St Francis Health Centre.

HEALTH HAVEN: St Francis Health Centre resident naturopath Dr Harry Hall with beauty therapists Shyleen Chigwada, Kerry Green and Monica Nyakumbana in the Centre’s room for colour and sound treatment. Picture: FAITH QINGA

Thirty years later, the vision lives on at this Kleinemonde facility.

Mrs Cowley moved to Port Alfred and her vision of establishing an alternative healing facility where the body, mind and soul could be re-aligned and balanced came to life in 1992.

Serenity is the overarching emotion as you move from one room to the next, the different colours in each room are designed to stimulate healing.

“Everything has a meaning, from the light that comes into the reception area to the colour on the walls,” says grandson Paul Cowley.

“This shade of blue in the dining room aids digestion,” he explains as you walk through the building. “The pink in the treatment rooms represents unconditional love.”

The Centre is a culmination of Mrs Cowley’s life’s work, now continued by her grandchildren.

“All of what she started, we’ve continued,” Paul says. “All the protocols and healing modalities are exactly the same.”

St Francis is a health centre, not just a spa, he emphasises.  “The holistic healing process during your stay is a programme of healing and rejuvenation.”

Her ability to see through physical ailments and identify the root cause of people’s problems sets St Francis Health Centre apart from other spas, he said. Every detail of the facility was well thought out.

“Everything in the centre was built to purpose.”

The facility offers rejuvenating detox programmes, aromatherapy massages, reflexology treatment, and steam baths. There is a passive toner machine, daily aquarobics in the indoor heated pool, yoga and callisthenics classes. Body, mind and soul healing is addressed during guided meditation and consultations with the resident health practitioner, Dr Harry Hall. The services of other specialists are used to perform body stress relief and acudetox. Other essential therapies available at the Centre include beauty, stress, cleansing, counselling, hypnotherapy and colon hydrotherapy.

Born Anneliese Ferchhumer in Schlusselberg, Austria, St Francis Health Centre’s founder qualified as a theatre sister. An outreach programme took her to Lesotho to practice as a clinician. That led to a stint in Ecuador; a return to Vienna to train more nurse volunteers to practice outreach medicine; and a return to Lesotho, where she immersed herself in homeopathic healing while practicing as a clinician. Mrs Cowley, who passed away in 2016, firmly believed that all people should have access to modern healthcare.

To celebrate 30 years in business, the St Francis Health Centre is offering a 20% discount on 6-, 10- and 13-day accommodation package rates, plus a further 10% discount on extra treatments booked. The offer is valid until 17 December. For more information contact the Centre at or call 046 625 0927 or WhatsApp on 082 718 2169.