Consecrated Women in Eastern-Central Africa to Maintain Theme of Postponed Assembly

Part of the original preparatory team posed for a group photo at the Apostles of Jesus Centre in Langata. The team is made up of staff from ACWECA and AOSK Secretariats.

The Plenary Assembly of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA), which had been slated for last August, is expected to take place in August this year under the same theme, officials involved in organizing the event have told ACI Africa.

The five-day 18th Plenary Assembly has been scheduled take place from August 23 under the previously formulated theme, “Re-awaken the Prophetic Role: A call for Reformation towards Holistic Transformation in the ACWECA region today.”

COVID-19-related restrictions in Kenya occasioned the one-year postponement.

Developed during the May 2019 ACWECA meeting, the theme was informed by the various challenges, which the people of God within the ACWECA region are facing such as conflict and war, poverty, and other socio-political tensions, Sr. Christine Wairimu who was part of the 2019 meeting told ACI Africa in an interview Tuesday, February 2. 

“We realized there is a need to respond to these situations,” Sr. Wairimu added in reference to the deliberations of the 2019 meeting of the Kenya-based association of Catholic Sisters.


The Sister who oversees  ACWECA's Leadership for Mission Program further recalled their collective decision during the May 2019 meeting, “We agreed there is a need to reawaken the prophetic voice in our world, in our various countries; to be prophets of hope, to challenge what needs to be challenged so that we can have better results and liberate our people from some sufferings.” 

The theme of the planned Plenary Assembly also follows from that of the 17th Plenary Assembly of ACWECA held in 2017, which was, "Revitalize our Solidarity for deeper evangelization in today’s complex reality within the Region,” Sr. Wairimu, a member of the Kenya-based Sisters of Emmanuel said.

During the 2017 Plenary, members of the regional association “were challenged to move away from (their) comfort zones and reach out to those who need (them) most, the vulnerable groups of society,” the President of ACWECA, Sr. Cecilia Njeri explained in her 23 August 2019 letter convoking the next Assembly

Catholic Sisters in Eastern and Central Africa were also challenged “to reach out to each other in (their) various communities, especially those who are in difficult areas through the spirit of the mission of ACWECA,” Sr. Njeri further explained referencing ACWECA’s 2017 Plenary Assembly.

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“Therefore, looking at the world today which has become a complex reality, we saw the need to re-awaken our prophetic role as religious women within the ACWECA Region in order to strengthen and deepen our evangelization,” the member of the Little Sisters of St Francis (L.S.O.S.F) stated in her three-page letter seen by ACI Africa.

She added, “There is a great need for re-formation of formation that will bring out holistic transformation that we all desire. As ambassadors for Jesus Christ, we are consecrated in Truth to make a difference amidst the challenges of the world and to remain steadfast as Prophets of today.” 

The planned Plenary Assembly is expected to bring together delegates from ACWECA member countries in a virtual forum, the Communication Director of the Nairobi-based association, Sr. Grace Candiru says in a report shared with ACI Africa.

The decision to hold the triennial Assembly virtually “necessitates that National Associations train their members on how to use such communication tools,” ACWECA Secretary General, Sr. Hellen Bandiho has been quoted as saying in the January 29 report.

“Before the Assembly, ACWECA is planning to train the Sisters beforehand because not all the Sisters in the region are tech-savvy,” Sr. Candiru told ACI Africa in a February 2 interview adding, “The training will be carried out (in respective countries) so that the Sisters will be ready, that way, we can avoid challenges as much as possible during the Plenary Assembly.”


In the January 29 report detailing the deliberations of a January 20 online meeting that brought together ACWECA Board of Directors, Sr. Candiru says that the Secretary General acknowledged receipt of “a note of regret from the Association of Consecrated Women of Eritrea, (ACWE), citing connectivity challenges.”

The chairpersons from each national association along with the President of ACWECA form the ACWECA Board of Directors.

“They are totally not going to be left out since we are going to receive their report during the Plenary, only that they will lack direct participation,” Sr. Candiru, a member of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church (MSMMC) told ACI Africa referencing Consecrated Women in the Northeast African nation of Eritrea.

The Ugandan-born Sister added, “At the end, we are going to develop and publish a booklet containing the Plenary Assembly notes that we will share with them and help them know what we discussed during the meeting while they were away.” 

During the planned virtual Plenary to be hosted by the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK), the leadership of the regional body and all member national associations “are expected to present activity reports for the past three years and these reports help the sisters to evaluate their lives and ministries,” Sr. Candiru notes in her report shared with ACI Africa. 

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Council of delegates to take part in the planned Plenary Assembly will be expected to elect a new ACWECA President.

The Council of delegates is made up of Superiors General and Delegate Superiors from the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zimbabwe is an associate member. 

Inspired by the 1973 Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), ACWECA’s pioneer members then known as “AMECEA Sisters” held their first conference in Nairobi in 1974.

The inaugural conference, which brought together delegates from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia took place under the theme, “The Role of the Religious Women in Evangelization.” 

The entity changed its name from “AMECEA Sisters” to Sisters of East Africa Study Conference (SEASC) in 1976 and to the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) in 2002.

According to the ACWECA Communications Director, the Nairobi-based association, which envisions an empowered Women Religious with enhanced evangelization tools, has a membership of at least 35,000 sisters from over 300 Congregations in Eastern and Central Africa.