Newly Launched Book to Redefine Religious Life amid Challenges: Catholic Priest in Kenya

Psoter announcing the May 5 book launch. Credit: Pauline Publications Africa

A new book on Religious Life seeks to redefine the life of consecrated persons and to prepare them to tackle current challenges in life, a Catholic Priest who provided a review of the book said.

Launched on Thursday, May 5, the book, “Religious Life for our World- Building Communities of Hope”, by Sr. Maria Cimperman was first published in the United States and made into a second edition to suit the African context.

In his address during the launch, Fr. Kenneth Makokha explained why the book is relevant to society today. He said that while the book is for the entire Church, it is specifically meant to help women and men Religious “to redefine themselves, to redefine their identity” in the world today.

Fr. Kenneth Makokha. Credit: Pauline Publications Africa

“The world is emerging with new realities, new challenges that really need Religious Life to be up to date with what is happening,” Fr. Makokha said.


He added in reference to the book that was published by the Nairobi-based Pauline Publications Africa, “This book is about the sense of Religious Life in our world, because realities change and situations change. Religious Life needs to be relevant not to conform but to be relevant to realities today.”

The Kenyan-born member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.) said that the world today is defined by violence and loss of meaning in life by most people. He added that this is the reason the book is relevant in the current world.

The Cleric who is a lecturer at Kenyan-based Tangaza University College (TUC) and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) listed poverty and unemployment as some of the current global challenges, adding that they contribute to the meaninglessness of life.

He said that the emerging situations in the current world, which he described as new realities such as increasing cases of immigrations and violence show how desperate people are and how they try to search for meaning in life.

The head of the Philosophy department at CUEA said that despite the book being written in the United States, its content is applicable to the Church across the globe. 

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“The author is writing in the United States, however, the insights contained in this wonderful book are also relevant for us in Africa because the Church is one and our commitment to live Religious Life is the same despite our religious context. It can help anyone, wherever they are because it is redefining ourselves, recalling our identity,” Fr. Makokha said.

The Kenyan Catholic Priest said that the response proposed in the book is mainly for women and men Religious. He added that the author of the book, Sr. Cimperman, identifies the call to be practical, a call that requires women and men Religious to re-identify themselves by re-embracing their charism.

“If we are able to go back to our identity, it should be able to bring us together as one church whereby even different Religious Congregations can collaborate because we are all laborers in the same vineyard,” he said.

Credit: Pauline Publications Africa

Fr. Makokha further said that redefining Religious Life entails challenging current situations that make life difficult and unbearable. He said that to be able to meet this kind of life, women and men Religious need to live a radical life.


He said that the book offers insights on how the Religious can contribute to a just society in the current world. 

The Kenyan Priest said that since women and men Religious live in their respective communities, they can transform them into just structures that promote equality and economic justice for all the people.

“The argument advanced in the book is meant to help the Religious to respond practically to the situations today. This involves understanding the needs the world has occasioned. We must understand what new issues are at stake today,” he said.

Fr. Makokha added that the three issues that women and men Religious in Africa need to tackle are, the power struggle and its social economic impact on the lives of the people, thirst for material wealth that has occasioned corruption and unfair competition, and increasing secularization of individuals and societies.

Sr. Olga Massango, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, who was part of the book’s editorial team, made reference to the Vocations Sunday to be celebrated on May 8. She said that the launching of the book was scheduled within the week to “awaken the people of God to this great need of vocations.”

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Sr. Olga Massango, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul Nairobi. Credit: Pauline Publications Africa

Sr. Masango added, “Sunday of vocation was created in the Church to help the people of God not only to pray but to be aware of the need of vocations.”

The Sister who is at the helm of the marketing department of Paulines Publications Africa added, “We know very well vocations, specifically to Priesthood and the Religious Life, and it is on that note that as a publishing house we felt the need to integrate this launching within this week to awaken the people of God to this great need of vocations.”

“Becoming a Priest or man or woman religious is not a decision that somebody takes by its own initiative; it’s a response to a call of love,” the native of Mozambique based in Kenya said.

Credit: Pauline Publications Africa

She explained, “Many vocations come out from families; God calls a person from any place, and gives the person the grace to answer to His call by entrusting a mission.”

The book that goes for US$10.00 is available at Pauline bookshops in Nairobi and in soft copy at

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.