Revise “traditional roles” to Align with “emerging issues”: Kenyan Nun to Women Religious

Sr. Prof. Agnes Lucy Lando. Credit: Sr. Prof. Agnes Lucy Lando

A Catholic Nun in Kenya has called on members of various female Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life to consider revising their “traditional roles” so that they are aligned with “emerging issues”. 

Sr. Prof. Agnes Lucy Lando who was addressing women Religious at a Thursday, April 28 webinar organized by the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) said the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality provides an opportunity for such revisions in view of laying “the foundation of our pastoral work” and ensuring relevance in the present world as Consecrated persons. 

“From this Synod, it seems that the traditional roles of consecrated women need to be revised,” Sr. Lando said, adding that the revisions need to be strategic, “remaining faithful to the original charism of each respective Congregation.” 

The member of the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega (SMK) encouraged women Religious to actively take part in the ongoing Synod on Synodality discussions so that their views are incorporated in the larger Church deliberations.

Women Religious “need to discern what the emerging issues are”, Sr. Lando said, and highlighted formal education in general and research in particular as a way Consecrated women can understand emerging issues and engage in evangelization in an appropriate manner.  


Education opens avenues for women Religious to contribute in making the Church a more synodal community and to be stakeholders in the decision-making process, the Professor at the Kenya-based Daystar University said, and cautioned, “If you are not at the decision-making table, then your views and opinions will not be considered.”

She advocated for education in social sciences among other disciplines saying women Religious engaging in such fields of study are helped “to understand our service to the world that is very complicated.”

“To be able to carefully understand the challenges facing Consecrated women and those facing humanity, it requires knowledge of social sciences,” Sr. Lando said.

“The world we serve in is not a religious world. Research based and solid empirical evidence is what can lay the foundation of our pastoral work,” the Kenyan Nun who was promoted to the rank of Daystar University’s first full professor on February 24 said.

She added, “Issues of environment, for example, gender-based violence, bad governance, human trafficking need the contribution of Consecrated women who are well trained in those areas to address these issues.”

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“In this synodality period, we cannot be outward looking only; we also need to be inward looking within our congregations,” the widely published Kenyan professor said during the April 28 webinar held under the theme, “Empowered Consecrated Women in a Synodal Church.”

She continued, “Better discernment on governance among various women Congregations also demands better training in administration. Being good willed is not enough. We have seen Sisters suffering because they have taken appointments out of good will.”

Sr. Lando underscored the need for capacity building among women Religious and appealed to those at the helm of Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life to enroll their respective members to institutions of higher learning.

“I plead with Congregation leaders to empower their religious through further education without fear that these Sisters are going to disappear from Religious Life,” the alumna of the Rome-based Pontifical Gregorian University said.

The Kenyan-born Nun added, “Let us not deny other Sisters the opportunity to go to school because Sister X was taken to school and she did not continue to be Religious. Maybe God was preparing her for that particular apostolate.”


“As women consecrated in the synodal Church, let us nurture each other's vocations. Let us be part and parcel of building the synodal church,” the Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Daystar University further said during the April 28 webinar, which ACWECA organized.

She said that her own experience with the Synod on Synodality “has been one of deep joy, admiration and praise for my Church” and added that her joy is occasioned by the duration and consultation process of the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality.

“This is not the first time that the Church is having a Synod; but it is different; that is where my joy comes from,” Sr. Lando said.

She explained in reference to Pope Francis’ October 2021 launch of the two-year global consultation process leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality, “This Synod is a long one; it's not just a month or two, but it is a whole two years. Then it is not just for the Bishops, but for the entire people of God starting from the grassroots going up.”

Sr. Lando said that she experiences joy when she hears different members of the Church talking about the Synod. 

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“This Synod is providing opportunities for gathering the people of God together and opportunities for listening to one another,” she said, and added, “I am happy because the Synod is discussing matters of vital church interest in an advisory capacity to the classical authority, but from the grassroots; this gives me deep joy.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.