Kenyan, Ugandan Catholic Nuns Lauded for Efforts to Re-Evangelize Cuba

A Religious Sister poses with an elderly woman at Palma Soriano in Cuba's Archdiocese of Santiago/ Credit: Aid to the Church in Need

The efforts of two Religious Sisters of Kenyan and Ugandan descent to re-evangelize Catholics in Cuba have been widely recognized, with Catholic Pontifical Organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International pledging support of the activities of the two Nuns working in the country’s Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago.

In its Wednesday, April 21 report, the Catholic charity organization notes that just about 1 percent of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Santiago attend Holy Mass in a region where over 70 percent of the population are baptized Catholics.

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Santiago informed ACN that true worship in the Caribbean Island has been deteriorating owing to the many years of atheism and a severe economic crisis, among other factors.

Making reference to the two Sisters, ACN leadership reports, “The Archbishop (of Santiago) has the highest regard for their work. In this country, subject for decades to atheist, socialist rule and still suffering a severe economic crisis today, both their support for the needy and also their work in proclaiming the faith are vitally important.”

The report further details, “Although around 70 percent of the population are baptized Catholics, only very few really play an active part in the life of the Church. The Archbishop estimates that only around 1 percent of the baptized actually attend Holy Mass.”


The members of the Missionary Congregation of the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary (ESM), ACN leadership notes, are present in the country to re-awaken the faith of Catholics.

Explaining the background of the Kenya-based Religious Order that was founded in 1975 in Uganda, ACN leadership notes, “During the papal visit to Uganda in 1969, Pope Paul VI had emphasized that the African people should now be their own missionaries, and the establishment of this congregation was one fruit of this new understanding.”

The Pontifical Catholic organization notes that today many African Priests and Religious Sisters are working as missionaries, not only on their own home continent, but also in many other parts of the world.

Since 2015, members of the Missionary Congregation of ESM have been working on the island of Cuba.

The two Sisters from East Africa are specifically stationed in the city of Palma Soriano in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba in the far south of the island, where they reach out to 15 outlying communities in the rural areas, ACN leadership reports.

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“They give catechetical instruction to children, young people and adults; they help the needy, care for the frail and elderly and support families in the area,” the charity organization details in its Wednesday, April 21 report.

To support the work of the two in a country that is plagued with poverty, ACN leadership has pledged a donation of 2,000 Euros for the coming year.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.