Synodal Process Time to Showcase “role in mission of evangelization”: Tanzanian Nun

Sr. Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Catholic Nun from Tanzania has challenged women and men Religious in Africa to use the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality to showcase their “active role in the mission of evangelization”.

Sr. Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu who was speaking during the Wednesday, March 30 virtual meeting that the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) organized to explore ways in which the synodal process can be understood in local contexts said Consecrated persons are expected to be “prophetic witnesses of holiness.”

“As Religious, this is the time to play an active role in the mission of evangelization with a particular purpose of being prophetic witnesses of holiness, because this is a symbol of love in the church and society,” Sr. Tunu said.

The member of the Little Sisters of St. Francis (LSOSF) who serves as the Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) highlighted some activities that the Religious are involved in including service to social institutions such as schools, hospitals, and taking care of the poor and said that there is need to do more during the synodal process.

She said that the Religious are involved in the promotion of integral human development by giving spiritual, moral, pastoral, intellectual and human formation. 


The Deputy Secretary General of ACWECA who doubles as the Regional Coordinator of Strengthening the Capacity of Religious Women in the Early Childhood Development Program of ACWECA said that more effort is needed to strengthen the family and the youth.

“We are in touch with the human community,” Sr. Tunu said, and added, “During this Synodal process we need to do more as religious in strengthening family and youth ministry.”

She acknowledged the contribution of Consecrated persons in the local church and appealed for more effort in building the Synodal church. Sr. Tunu likened the spirit of Synodality to early Christian life, which she said is an imitation of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

The Nairobi-based Catholic Nun who teaches at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Tangaza University College (TUC) said that imitating the Holy Family calls for the shaping of Religious Orders’ responses to the needy and the vulnerable in the society. This, she said, can be done by ensuring that there is justice for everyone.

She said that for the Religious to contribute towards a just society, they must lead as good examples by ensuring that there is justice in their respective communities.

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Inspired by the spirit of Synodality, the church is tasked with the responsibility of listening to the brokenness of the world due to the social vices, including corruption, wars, discrimination, human trafficking, and greediness, Sr. Tunu said.

“We have people who are questing for wealth instead of balancing the spiritual and material good,” the Deputy Secretary General of the regional body comprising Conferences of Women Religious Superiors General from English-speaking countries of Eastern and Central Africa said during the March 30 SECAM webinar.

For Consecrated persons to embrace the spirit of Synodality in the local church, she said, there is need for “more interior renewal of our personal and community life as Religious, listening and living the word of God in prayer and in daily exercise of charity towards the poor.”

She underlined the need for the Religious to be fully devoted to the people of God and said, “we are all agents of evangelization as baptized.”

“We are called to put in mind that our Religious institutes need to see whether we have the right apostolate and whether these apostolates are sustainable, the way we run them for the mission of the church,” Sr. Tunu said. 


She also called upon the Religious to focus their attention on what she described as injustices and unjust structures within the Church, saying that rigid structures do not permit participation. 

The official of the regional Catholic entity that operates on the vision, “Empowered Consecrated Women for Deeper Evangelization” appealed to leaders of Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life to ensure that charisms and ministries of their respective institutions are integrated where every member nurtures the spirit for availability and ownership.

Sr. Tunu challenge Consecrated persons to use social media effectively for evangelization rather than for their own personal gain.

She said that the Religious need to be sensitized more on the Synodal process because it is the first time the whole church has been involved in the process.

“In the ongoing Synodal process, we need more sensitization for the Religious to know what Synodality means because this is the first time the church involves everybody, to participate in the Synod,” the Tanzanian Catholic Nun said during the March 30 SECAM webinar.

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She explained, “In the past, it was only the Bishops who participated in the Synodal process. We therefore need a lot of sensitization and education on this.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.