Religious, Priestly Life Not about “gold medal for the best behavior”: Nuncio in Kenya

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan presiding over Mass during the Mother Teresa Feast Day Celebration at Home of Mercy, Huruma in the Archdiocese of Nairobi on Tuesday, September 5. Credit: Radio Waumini

Joining and living Religious and Priestly Life is not to be compared to a sport competition that involves medals for the best performers, the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya has said.

In his homily on the Feast Day of St. Teresa of Calcutta at Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy, Huruma, that is run under the auspices of in the Missionaries of Charity (MC) in Nairobi Archdiocese, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen underscored the need for “passion” in lifelong choices.

“Joining the Religious Congregation of your choice, even the Priestly life, is not forcing yourself into moral heights. This is not an Olympic game; this is not about who gets the gold medal for the best behavior,” Archbishop van Megen said during the Tuesday, September 5 event.

He added, “If at that very beginning there is no passion in your life, passion in your Religious Life, your Priestly life, even in getting into your marriage, it's not going to work,” said the Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan.

Archbishop van Megen emphasized the need to establish and maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for a fulfilling life that can compare to that of St. Teresa of Calcutta, the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity.


“In order to live your Religious Life to the full, you need to have a clear awareness of Christ in your life; you need therefore to immerse yourself in that living relationship with God,” he said in his September 5 homily.

Reflecting on St. Teresa of Calcutta as a universal symbol of God's merciful and preferential love for the poor and forgotten, the Dutch-born Apostolic Nuncio underlined the necessity of love in persons embracing Religious Life.

“If you want to go further in Religious Life, it is therefore very important that you will find yourself loved. You have to maintain that relationship with Christ because He is the one who loves you so that you can love others as He loved you,” Archbishop van Megen said.

He went on to laud Missionaries of Charity, popularly known as Sisters of Mother Teresa for their love for the poorest of the poor irrespective of class, color, or creed.

The Vatican diplomat who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in 2014 acknowledged with appreciation the relationship MC members nurture with the crucified Lord. He said, “In every Chapel of your Congregation there is a cross and these words, ‘I thirst’, and these, of course, are the words of Jesus I thirst on the cross.”

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“Sometimes I think in many ways it was also the word of Mother Teresa herself who was thirsting for that love in a sense even desperately looking for it especially when you read her diary,” Archbishop van Megen said during the September 5 event at Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy, Huruma, Nairobi.

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.