While working at the Paulines Bookshop in Uganda, for instance, Sr. Elizabeth observed the people’s laudable reading culture, especially of religious content.
“I was ever busy selling prayer and devotional books. I have worked in our bookshops in other countries, but Ugandans struck me as the most devoted readers of religious materials. I can't explain this with certainty but Ugandans also struck me as very prayerful people,” the native of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kitui said.
During her three-year experience in a bookshop, Sr. Jacinta on her part served “repeat customers”.
“I discovered that continuous reading builds a habit because I served repeat customers. Hardly new ones. I saw people who read book after book, sometimes coming with new titles written down and challenging us to order for books that we didn't have in our bookshops,” Sr. Jacinta said.
Sr. Jacinta Mukai Muindi. Credit: ACI Africa
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According to Sr. Lucy, online bookshops are phasing out printed books “and that’s not an entirely good thing.”
“With a physical book, a reader develops some sense of ownership; you own the knowledge in the book. I feel that softcopy books are distant to their readers,” Sr Lucy says.
The Kenyan Nun has also observed a poor reading culture among children and the youth who, she says, prefer to watch and listen to music instead.
Sr. Elizabeth, on her part, recommends more sensitization, especially in Catholic schools, to boost the reading culture among young people, saying, “Reading builds the whole person, including their intellect and their souls. If you do not read, you don't grow; you even get worse.”
“The more you read, the more you build your desire to read. And whatever you read affects your life. It is therefore important to carefully select materials that build your positive attitudes,” Sr. Elizabeth says.
Sr. Lucy Nasimiyu Mutenyo. Credit: Paulines Publications Africa
According to the 33-year-old FSP member, it is especially important for Catholics to read helpful content to be strongly rooted in their faith.
She says, “There is always something new for a Catholic to read every day. This is the only way they deepen their faith. Otherwise, they risk succumbing to the waves that come their way every day.”
Meanwhile, the three Daughters of St. Paul have expressed their joy ahead of their perpetual profession on April 14, which will be presided over by Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese.
“I have dreamt and prayed for this day for years. It is now a reality. I am grateful to God to have brought me this far in my life as a religious Sister and I pray to continue being faithful to Him in everything that I do,” Sr. Jacinta who joined the Daughters of St. Paul in 2012 shares.
For Sr. Elizabeth, April 14 is a day of thanksgiving. She says, “It is the day I say a definitive Yes to my Lord. It is never easy to discern one’s call and there are always doubts. But God has always accompanied me through all the doubts I had in my vocation.”
Members of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) at an interview with ACI Africa ahead of their final profession in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Paulines Publications Africa
“I always asked myself whether I was indeed making the right decision to choose Religious Life instead of becoming a lawyer or something else to lift my family out of poverty. But whenever these thoughts came to me, I always prayed and experienced immense tranquility,” Sr. Elizabeth told ACI Africa.
She added, “The Lord always filled me with peace and assurance that I was on the right path. And he has made it happen. My final profession is a day of Thanksgiving. I am waiting for it with immense joy in my heart.”
For Sr. Lucy, her perpetual profession as a Daughter of St. Paul is “a confirmation of God’s love”.
“I am lucky to be here considering that many dropped off along the way and I wasn't the best among them. In fact, I thought of myself as the weakest. But it seems God believed in me and that’s why I am here. My final profession is therefore a confirmation of God’s love for me. I am preparing myself for it with a spirit of gratitude,” Sr. Lucy said.
The final profession comes with added responsibility, she told ACI Africa during the April 12 interview, and explained, “The expectations will grow. Not that I will be doing anything different. But I am now an adult in the Congregation.”
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.