“No going back,” Catholic Sisters told at Professions, Jubilee Celebrations in Kenya

Some of the members of the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph during the celebration of their Jubilees and Professions Credit: Fr. Alex Kimbi/ Mill Hill Missionaries

Members of the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph (FMSJ) who celebrated their Jubilees and professions in Kenya have been urged to cling to Jesus Christ, and not to quit in the face of hardships.

In his homily during the Thursday, December 8 event that was celebrated in the Catholic Diocese of Kisii, Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa urged the FMSJ Sisters not to allow temptations to come in the way of their vocation.

“I want you to think about your personal and positive response to your spouse, the Savior. You said ‘Yes’ to him and you must not change that. Whatever may tempt you to change your ‘Yes’ to Jesus must not have the way in your lives,” Bishop Mairura said.

He added, “Because of that ‘Yes’, there is no going back. You are a missionary forever. Whoever said ‘Yes’ to Jesus is a missionary forever. Sick or old, despised or loved, there is no going back.”

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop urged the women Religious not to “run away” from their vocation, and not to complain especially when they are commissioned to missions they may think have unsurmountable challenges. 


“God has chosen you, and because he has chosen you, God is going to do the impossible for His people through you. He will use you. You may even be sent to difficult places, and you may be tempted to complain. However difficult the mission may turn out to be, do not run away,” he said. 

The five FMSJ Jubilarians at the celebration were Sr. Margaret Bradbury, who celebrated 60 years in the Religious Congregation; and Sr. Anna Muindi, Sr. Florence Boyani, Sr. Margaret Tambasi, and Sr. Martina Kabole who celebrated 25 years in the Congregation.

At the December 8 event, Sr. Phelesia Ayuko Okwemba made her final profession while Sr. Faith Mumo Mwongeli, and Sr. Immaculate Chepkemoi made their first profession.

Bishop Mairura reminded the Sisters to always keep in mind that they were called as individuals and “not as a group”.

“Let us congratulate our Sisters celebrating today. They are celebrating their gift of a vocation to be close followers of Jesus, imitating him every day as they minister to his people,” the Local Ordinary of Kisii Diocese said.

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He added, in his address to the eight FMSJ members, “When you were called, my dear sisters, you were not called as a group. You were called as an individual, and your response gave you the possibility of what you are today, together with your sisters. But it had to be initiated from your homes, from your parents.”

Their positive response, the Bishop said, “opened the way for Jesus to freely enter into you and to Christify your person to be like him.”

“You enjoy divine grace in that condition that makes you His followers. At this point, and in a Synodal way, you are ready to be sent, like disciples who left everything and followed Jesus. Just as it was with Prophet Jeremiah, God has been with you from the beginning. He consecrated you before you were born,” he said. 

The 68-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of the Kenyan Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in July 1995 urged the Sisters to always seek to cooperate with the person of Jesus Christ, saying, “Sisters, never walk alone in this missionary journey. You have been sent, so, walk with Jesus.”

At the celebration that was held on the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Mairura told the FMSJ members who celebrated their Jubilees and professions to always cling to the Mother of the Lord, whenever they feel overwhelmed.


“At the times you feel overwhelmed, and wonder what kind of vocation you choose, don't be afraid. There is no comfort anywhere, even in going back home. The secret is to cling to the mantle of Our Lady,” he said, and added, “Cling to the mantle of Our Lady, through prayers, and never let it go. Once you hold onto her, she will lead you to her son.”

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.