Foster Honesty, Truth to Overcome Life's Challenges: Kenyan Catholic Priest to Graduands

Some of the PhD graduates at CUEA. Credit: CUEA

Graduands at a Kenya-based Catholic University have been encouraged to foster honesty and truthfulness to be able to overcome challenges they might encounter in their lives. 

The Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) who was addressing graduands at the institution’s 40th graduation ceremony Friday, October 29 said the world is not only beautiful, but also hostile and full of challenges and tribulations.

To surmount the challenges and tribulations, Fr. Stephen Mbugua Ngari said, graduands are expected to “be honest, truthful and a witness of life. If your life is grounded on these values and the value of faith, you are assured of success in whatever you pursue."

The member of the Clergy of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese  also told the graduands that they need to be "committed, competent and excellent in whatever you do."

Speaking at the same event held under the theme, “Education for actualizing life’s purpose and global citizenship,” Kenya’s Auditor-General, Ms. Nancy Gathungu, advised the graduands to be courageous in the face of challenges. 


Kenya's Auditor General, Ms. Nancy Gathungu, who was the Chief Guest at the 40th Graduation Ceremony of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Credit: CUEA

“Scaling heights in the corporate and business world is not easy. To succeed you have to rely on strong attributes. One is to not be afraid to dream big or start small," Ms. Gathungu told the over 3,000 graduands of the institution owned by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA). 

Ms. Gathungu who was the Chief Guest at the graduation ceremony that was livestreamed from the University’s main campus in Nairobi added, "How you react to the challenges you face will define your character, your resilience, and success. It will differentiate you as a high achiever." 

She further urged the graduands to move from their comfort zones and routine by trying out new things and taking risks. 

The Chief Guest at the graduation event further advised graduands to embrace and handle the challenges they will encounter "with faith" and to hold their values and character dearly. 

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"Even as you get that degree, that masters, that doctorate, the most important thing is your value, your character, your name. Your values and character are your most prized possession," she said, and added, "At your workplace or in business you may have opinions that are not popular but as long as your conscience is clear, you are trading on the right path."

Echoing the sentiments of the Chief Guest, the Chairman of CUEA Council, Bishop Maurice Muhatia encouraged the graduands to embrace "prayer, faithfulness, commitment, competence, honesty, excellence and being a witness to life." 

If embraced, the Bishop of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese said Christian and human values have the power to guide the graduands towards successful lives. 

"The world is yearning for honest, just leaders of integrity," said the Kenyan-born Catholic Bishop. 

On his part, CUEA’s Pro-Chancellor, John Cardinal Njue, told the graduands to treasure what they have learned. 


“Challenges are there but depending on how you are able to uphold your own identity and those gifts that you have received, you will be able to go miles,” the Archbishop Emeritus of Kenya’s Nairobi Archdiocese said.

Meanwhile, Sr. Teresa Kiragu who graduated with a Ph.D. in Theology looked back at her academic journey, shared about her teaching ministry, and expressed her availability to go to “wherever else” her Religious Institute may call her to offer services.

“I am grateful to attain a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) as a moral theologian,” Sr. Kiragu who was among those who attained first class honors told ACI Africa Saturday, October 30.

Credit: Sr. Teresa Kiragu, Ph.D.

The member of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (ASN) recalled her 11-year academic background saying, “It has been a journey that I began back in 2010, three years after my first profession, with diploma in philosophy, Bachelor’s degree in Theology, later masters, and now a doctorate in Moral Theology.”

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The Kenyan-born Nun who said she has spent three quarters of her life as a religious pursuing studies in Theology at CUEA main campus in Nairobi added, “As a young woman Religious, it was not easy to embrace Theological studies. I felt it was meant for Seminarians and Priests.”

“I appreciate the challenge to pursue Theology; it has enabled me learn and appreciate my role as a Religious Sister and deepened my Catholic faith,” the ASN member who attained first class honors at all levels of her studies at CUEA told ACI Africa.

Credit: Sr. Teresa Kiragu, Ph.D.

“Having attained this milestone, it is my turn now to give back to society by teaching Theology,” Sr. Kiragu further said, and added, “Presently I teach as a part time lecturer at CUEA and at Chemi chemi ya uzima Institute of Catechetics and I am available to wherever else my services may be needed.”

The member of various international theological forums including the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) and the Pan-African Catholic Theology and pastoral network would like to see “more” women Religious take up studies in Theology.

“I would encourage more Religious Sisters to pursue Theological studies,” she said.

Credit: Sr. Teresa Kiragu, Ph.D.

She expressed her “sincere gratitude” to those who have supported her academic journey, mentioning members of ASN Institute, those who supervised her doctoral research, “Catholic scholarships (porticus) for sponsoring my undergraduate studies, and finally to the Institute of Missio Aachen Germany for the scholarship for my Masters and my Ph.D. God bless you.”

Going forward, Sr. Kiragu said, “I will embark on publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals and books in the field of Moral Theology.”

“So far have written six article and first book is on the way,” the member of ASN told ACI Africa October 30.

This news report was updated on 30 October 2021 at 23h55.

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.