Let the Evangelical Counsels Spur “holiness, to resemble Jesus”: Catholic Bishop in Tanzania to Women Religious

Bishop Edward Elias Mapunda of Tanzania’s Catholic Diocese of Singida. Credit: Radio Mwangaza Fm

Bishop Edward Elias Mapunda of Tanzania’s Catholic Diocese of Singida has called on the women Religious to strive for holiness in the example of the person of Jesus Christ by living the three Evangelical Counsels of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience.

In his homily during the Silver Jubilee of Religious Life of three members of the Sisters of Charity of St. Charles Borromeo (CB) at St. John the Baptist Mintiko Parish of his Episcopal See, Bishop Mapunda said the act of consecration leads one “to holiness, to resemble Jesus Christ.” 

Through Consecration, he said, “we resemble Him in poverty, we resemble Him in purity of heart (chastity), and we resemble Him in obedience; all these guide us to holiness.”

The purpose of religious consecration “is for us to be holy just as Jesus Himself is holy," the Tanzanian Catholic Bishop emphasized during the June 10 Silver Jubilee celebration of Sr. Maria Christina, Sr. Maria Gabriella, and Sr. Maria Lucia.

He recalled the emphasis the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) placed on Consecrated Life, saying that “consecrated persons voluntarily dedicate themselves to God to live the Evangelical Counsels, to live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.”


The Consecrated “voluntarily promise to follow Christ and imitate Him closely in living these vows, which they take for the sake of the kingdom of God, for the glory of God,” Bishop Mapunda said.

The decision to join Consecrated Life, he went on to say, is “inspired by love” and involves sacrifice.

Consecrated persons “sacrifice because of their love for God, their love for fellow human beings; their love for God and their love for people’s salvation,” the Tanzanian Catholic Church leader, who has been at the helm of Singida Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in July 2015 explained. 

“This is the love that drives them to take the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and to accept to live community life for the sake of participating in building God’s Church,” he said during the Silver Jubilee celebration of three CB members.

The Tanzanian Catholic Bishop went on to acknowledge with appreciation the service of women Religious in the Church and applauded the three CB jubilarians for accepting God’s call to Consecrated Life.

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“Brothers and sisters, these are great things that God accomplishes in His call to Religious Life; and we thank Him,” he said, and continued, "We also thank them (the women Religious) for responding to the call from God with joy; they have accepted to become Nuns by the grace of God. Therefore, we are very pleased as we celebrate this Silver Jubilee of the three sisters.”

Bishop Mapunda cautioned Consecrated persons against pride, adding that Religious Life is a “fruit of God’s generosity”, and needs to be for the glory of God. 

“Do not boast because it is not your work; do not boast because you have been enabled by God, you have been brought this far by God; you have been favoured by God,” he said. 

While others might have despised you, while the world might have seen you as weak and having nothing to offer, God saw you and had a favourable regard for you, the Catholic Church leader said, underscoring the need for Consecrated persons to live gratitude rather than pride. 

He called upon Christians to pay attention to the message of Jesus Christ, saying, “Every Christian is invited to hold fast to the teachings of Christ; every Christian is invited to follow the examples of the teacher of God”


The Consecrated are expected to hold fast to Jesus’ teaching in “a very special way, more closely adhering to the examples of His life, and closely following His teachings.”

“We pray that Jesus continues to bring us more to consecrated life, to grant those in Consecrated Life good health, to encourage, and bless them so they continue to be witnesses of faith,” said the Local Ordinary of Singida that is part of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Dodoma.

Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

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