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Members of Religious Orders in Kenya Urged to Form Partnerships to Nurture Vocations

Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Kenya's Mombasa Archdiocese alongside Loreto Sisters displaying the new book, "Mary Ward - Her time is now" on 29 January 2022 at Loreto Convent Msongari. Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

The Archbishop of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese has encouraged members of different Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life in Kenya to think about the possibility of living together to share resources and to nurture vocations to Religious Life in the East African nation. 

In his homily during the Saturday, January 29 Centennial Celebration of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I.B.V.M) in Eastern Africa, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde said that he had been to places where members of different Religious Orders were living together in one community.

“Partner with others in a unique way,” Archbishop Kivuva said, addressing himself to members of Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life in Kenya.

Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

The Kenyan Archbishop explained, “There are places now where you will not find a complete community. I have seen in Europe and in other places a mixed community of people where you find, say a Loreto Sister, an Assumption Sister, and so on, living together. But their values are always the same.”

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The Local Ordinary of Mombasa Archdiocese who doubles as the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) noted that partnerships among Religious Orders would also boost the growth of vocations to Religious Life in the country.

“Let us not just cry that we don’t have vocations. We have vocations. Our lay people joined us a long time ago and that is why the alumni groups are unique in Loreto Schools,” he said.

Archbishop Kivuva observed that I.B.V.M. members, commonly known as the Loreto Sisters, had undergone numerous difficult experiences and that they had made it through the support of the members of alumni groups of the schools they run.

Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa Archdiocese at Loreto Convent Msongari 29 January 2022. Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

“In many difficulties, you have made it through the partnerships with those alumni you have worked with. These were all kinds of professionals including doctors, lawyers, and other people who knew the terrain better than you and who were ready to help you out,” he said.

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He added, “Let’s share the resources that Jesus Christ has given us in a real way.”

The Catholic Archbishop noted that unlike in the past, when people joined Religious Life after completing their basic education, formation to Religious Life has become an unending process that starts early and continues after one is takes vows and/or is ordained in what he termed “ongoing formation.”

“A Jesuit told me that his Congregation has started an ongoing formation for Religious men and women and I thought it is an important initiative. We all need it because the work is grilling and we sometimes suffer from burnout. We all need this type of ongoing formation,” he said.

Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

Archbishop Kivuva lauded the Loreto Sisters for building Kenya’s educational foundation that has produced the country’s change makers including the late Kenyan Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai, the alumna of Loreto School Limuru in Kenya who, in 2004, was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Loreto Sisters, the Catholic Archbishop who will turn 70 next month said, “have left an indelible mark in Kenya in the schools they built, the men and women they trained, and the sacrifices they made so that we are able to go to school.”

Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

The Loreto Sisters, he continued, “brought us education. And as we all know, the best gift you can give to anyone, your son or daughter, is not a big house or land. It is education so that they can be able to buy their own land and they can judge how to live best guided by the principles that are imparted by our Catholic institutions.”

The Archbishop of Mombasa said it is difficult to imagine what the country would look like without education.

“I can imagine that without education, this would be a very sad country with no people to lead others. We know what happens in places where there are no proper leaders,” he said.

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The Kenyan Archbishop observed that schools run by the Loreto Sisters and other Catholic institutions produce people with desirable character.

Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

“I am always proud of any of those people I meet out there who went through our missionary schools; those who decided to remain with the values that were taught in school; those who decided to keep up with the life of prayer, hard work and the discipline they were taught,” he said, and added that in Catholic schools, learners are allowed not just to work hard to pass exams but also to embrace other valuable issues of life.

In his January 29 homily at Loreto Convent Msongari in Nairobi, Archbishop Kivuva urged Kenyan schools to use education as a tool to fight backward practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is still practiced in some parts of the world.

The Head of Public Service in Kenya, Dr. Joseph Kinyua, at Loreto Convent Msongari 29 January 2022. Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

He promised to support the “Baby Kilifi”, a school that the Loreto Sisters in Eastern Africa Province plan to establish in his Metropolitan See to mark their 100 years of service saying, “We’ll walk with you. We want to journey with you and I want to welcome you to the Archdiocese of Mombasa.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop who is at the helm of KCCB has called upon Kenyans to work towards peace and togetherness as the country gears up for the national elections scheduled for August 9.

Credit: Sr. Santrina Tumusiime, IBVM

“We have fallen many times as Kenyans, especially during elections. It must be some kind of a disease because Kenyans become tribal every time elections come by,” Archbishop Kivuva said.

He added, “I am sure the founder (of the Loreto Sisters) would say, ‘No, we didn’t come here as Irish. We came from many places. We are in many places with the sole purpose of bringing Christ who unifies us’. We need to put our hearts into making Kenya better.”