Foreign Values, “Temptations of this world” Threats to Consecrated Life in Africa: Nun

Sr. Caroline Mbonu. Credit: Global Sisters Report

Following lifestyles that are foreign to Africa and “temptations of this world” are among aspects that threaten the future of Consecrated Life on the continent, a Catholic Nun in Nigeria has told ACI Africa in an interview. 

In the Thursday, February 2 interview, the 27th World Day of Consecrated Life, Sr. Caroline Mbonu said that while “the future of Consecrated Life in Africa is positive and I think Religious life is going to flourish as we are pursuing our various charisms,” there is a need to address the potential threats to Religious Life. 

Efforts are being made by Consecrated persons to live their respective charisms in Africa, the member of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus (HHCJ) said.

“There are different threats to Consecrated Life in various parts of the world, the main challenge that cuts across is the issue of diminishing numbers of Consecrated persons,” the senior lecturer in the Department of Religious and Cultural Studies at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria said.

In Africa, Sr. Mbonu said, the use of contraceptives, which she categorized among foreign values, is threatening the family, which in turn threatens the number of vocations.


“Here in Africa, we have a lot of children; but our young people are beginning to copy the lifestyle of the people from the West,” she said in reference to the use of contraceptives.

The author of the books, The Power of Names in Theology and Society, cautioned, “When we start copying what other people are doing without reflecting, that is where we will hurt ourselves as African people.”

She advocated for capacity building of members of Religious Orders beyond the common fields, saying, “Consecrated People are trained to be doctors, nurses, and social workers among others, but there is also another aspect of biblical stories, theology of Religious Life, and Pastoral theology; the Church can help to educate more Consecrated People along that line.”

Sr. Mbonu urged parents to provide orientation to their respective children. Parents, she said, need to share with their children “about Consecrated Life and also ensure that they go to Catholic schools. If they don’t teach them about Consecrated Life, who will continue with this job when we get old and die?”

Some of the practical ways that parents can use to initiate their children into Religious Life “is through family prayers and introducing them to the liturgy of the Church,” she further said.

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“Let the children also engage in voluntary work in the Church, hospitals, and children’s homes; this will help nurture the spirit of service in them,’ said the Nigerian Catholic Nun who was awarded the Papal Benemerenti Medal for her service to the Catholic Church last year.

Addressing Consecrated persons, Sr. Mbonu said, “Appreciate your call; renew your commitments every day so that you don’t get carried away by the temptations of this world.”

In the February 2 interview with ACI Africa, the Catholic Nun said the extension of the Synod on Synodality to 2024 has given a voice to women Religious.  

“The ongoing Synod on Synodality has helped Consecrated people to realize that they have a voice, especially the women,” she said, adding, “This is because we have never been told to come to a round table and discuss issues affecting the Church before.”

Religious persons are beginning to understand more the aspect of synodality, which entails walking together through listening, participation and mission because of the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, Sr. Mbonu said.


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.