Religious Vocation “belongs to God”: Kenyan Catholic Bishop to Newly Professed Nuns

The 11 Sisters on a procession during the Eucharistic celebration held at the Sacred Heart Mukumu Parish of Kakamega Diocese. Credit: ACI Africa.

Vocation to Religious Life is a fruit of God’s grace and is therefore not a possession of an individual person but “belongs to God”, Bishop Mark Kadima said during the profession of 11 members of the Congregation of Sisters of Mary of Kakamega (SMK).

In his homily during the celebration that took place at Sacred Heart Mukumu Parish of Kakamega Diocese on Thursday, December 8, the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese told the newly professed SMK members that the call of God they had responded to “belongs to the Church”.

“The vocation you have is not yours; it belongs to God and it belongs to the Church; it’s a gift of grace from God,” he said during the Eucharistic celebration that was concelebrated by the Local Ordinary of Kakamega Diocese, Bishop Joseph Sagwe Obanyi.

Bishop Kadima urged the newly professed Nuns to hold firmly to their vows even when they are in doubt.

“After these vows and you discover that you had no vocation, live as if you had it because grace overcomes nature; what nature does not have, grace gives,” the Kenyan Catholic Bishop said.


The 58-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Bungoma Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in February this year reflected on Mother Mary’s response in the Gospel of St. Luke and said, “the ‘yes’ of Mary should help us in vows.”

He urged those called to Religious Life to emulate Mary’s response, adding that it is a sign of obedience that denotes the possibility of everything before God.

“Religious Life is the same as Mary’s calling. Mary is relevant because we get inspiration from her calling,” the former Vatican diplomat who spearheaded the establishment and official opening of the South Sudan Apostolic Nunciature as its pioneer Chargé d’Affaires said.

He went on to say that a vocation is not just a personal decision; it is “a response, a call that you least expect” and that “when you don’t know what God has planned, you are only shocked to learn of it.”

In his December 8 homily during the event on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Kadima called upon the Consecrated to see their talents as the way through which God has called them to Religious Life and to continue responding to God’s call in the example of Mary.

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The Local Ordinary of Bungoma Diocese underscored the need for the Consecrated to embrace community living, evangelical vows, and apostolate, terming them the cornerstone Religious Life.

Speaking at the same event, the Superior General of SMK, Sr. Josepha Angeline Atswele reiterated Bishop Kadima’s call to embrace community life, evangelical vows, and the apostolate, adding that the three are lived hand in hand.

“If you are outside the community, you are not a religious woman,” she said.

She thanked the 11 newly profession SMK members for committing themselves through their vows, especially on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and urged them to use the occasion to “renew yourself and to do more in discerning so that you remain truly faithful to the one who has always called you and will continue calling you.”

“It is a special day as we celebrate this particular feast to remind yourselves that as Sisters of Mary you are not just any other Religious Sisters; remain humble and always do the right thing serving faithfully,” she said.


The SMK Superior General challenged the newly professed Sisters to reflect upon their final vows and gauge their commitment so as to “remain responsible, learn to be devoted, and learn to live beyond your norm.”

Sr. Atswele also urged the senior members of the Congregation to keep supporting the newly professed to remain faithful to God’s call. 

“Getting a ring does not mean they are angels; look at them as your younger sisters; support them and accompany them, journey with them,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the newly professed, Sr. Mary Asenwa thanked God for the gift of their vocation to Religious Life and the support they have received over the years from SMK members.

“With gratitude, I thank all the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega for journeying with us and showing us motherly love in various communities,” Sr. Asenwa said.

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She also thanked the parents and guardians for planting the “seed of Catholic faith” in the SMK members who were giving their lives perpetually to God’s service in the Congregation.

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.