Catholic Sisters Congregation Lauded for Uniqueness in Ministering to the Sick in Kenya

A poster announcing Ivrea Sisters' Golden Jubilee. Credit: Ivrea Sisters

Members of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea (SCIC/Ivrea Sisters) have been lauded for the “ministry to the sick” during their 50 years of service in the East African nation.

In his homily during the Golden Jubilee celebration of the sisters at our Lady of Fatima Verna Health Centre, Bishop Michael Cornelius Odiwa of the Catholic Diocese of Homa Bay also lauded the congregation for transforming the Parish and the neighborhood through health services.

“The Job of nurses is to open the eyes of the newly born and also close their eyes when they depart to the creator. This is the work that Ivrea Sisters came here to do from 1973 to date,” Bishop Odiwa said in his Thursday, December 14 homily.

The Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Diocese that was first to receive the Sisters’ congregation added, “We therefore have a reason to thank God for this ministry to the sick.”

The congregation was founded by the Italian Catholic Nun, Antonia María Verna, and recognized with civil approval in 1828. It received diocesan ecclesiastical approval in 1835, and pontifical approval in 1904.


Pioneers of the congregation which has headquarters in Rome came to Kenya in 1973 and settled at Rakwaro in the Homa Bay Diocese where the they started the Verna Health Centre in 1974.

Since then, the Catholic Health facility that is situated in the Rakwaro parish of the Kenyan Diocese has been providing medical services to the community including delivering children.

In his homily, the Bishop noted that the sisters' contribution to the Rakwaro community through their delivery services among other health services is evident and can be observed by the residents.

“Their work is well known, witnessed and also speaks for itself here in Rakwaro,” he said, and added, “Through their work, we can say that God’s promise is being fulfilled because we have witnessed the work through their health facilities.”

Bishop Odiwa who started by blessing a foundation for the new maternity wing of the facility commended the congregation for developmental milestones.

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“It was not in the wildest dream that the Ivrea sisters thought when they settled here that it would be even a place that is this remarkable,” said the 61-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of the Kenyan Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in February 2021

Bishop Odiwa urged the people of God under his pastoral care to continue supporting the initiatives that the sisters are introducing, saying, “Even if sisters are behind the initiatives, the service is ours, we are the beneficiaries.”

“While we have blessed the foundation of the maternity wing today, we acknowledge the ongoing need for God's blessings to ensure that people continue supporting this ministry through charitable contributions.”

A foundation stone for the new maternity wing that Bishop Michael Odiwa of Homa Bay blessed on the occasion of the celebration of Golden jubilee of Ivrea Sisters in Kenya. Credit: Victor Isaac

In his December 14 homily, the Bishop said that the 50 years that the sisters are celebrating “are years of joy of the blessings of the lord.” He said that the celebration is “a manifestation of God fulfilling His promise of creation.”


“The prophecy is being fulfilled in this congregation of the sisters of Ivrea because God in the year of the Jubilee is giving produce of the land to celebrate, to jubilate,” the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Homa Bay Diocese said.

Bishop Odiwa said the sisters that also have a presence in Kenya’s Eldoret Diocese and Nairobi Archdiocese have been given every blessing “to grow, to minister, and to prosper”, especially in Homa Bay Diocese where they first landed.

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.