Kenya: Consolata Missionary Sisters Clock 100 Years

Nyeri, Kenya - Christians have been asked to respect life as it is a gift from God. Archbishop Peter Kairo of the archdiocese of Nyeri said this during the centenary celebrations of the Consolata Missionary Sisters that took place in Mathari-Nyeri on Saturday January 30.

The prelate reminded more than 5000 Christians present the catholic stand on what the catholic teaching holds about human life, "Human life does not start at birth but at conception and every person has a right to live, so abortion is wrong, euthanasia is wrong" he said this citing the decision of the Parliamentary Select Committee that had proposed in the new draft Constitution that life begins at birth.

Archbishop Kairo congratulated the nuns for their work saying, "It is true that as Consolata Missionaries you have lived the desire of your Founder: To make people know God's love."

The prelate reiterated that it is this love that made the first nuns to leave their country and come to Kenya to serve. He mentioned the example of Sr. Irene Stefani 'Nyaatha' whose tomb was blessed before the celebration. Stressing on her devotion "of bringing consolation to the sick, not only in Nyeri but also in Gikondi parish where she died".

The archbishop cited a living and prophetic example of Sr. Graziela Paladin, an 81 old nun who still offers her service to the prisoners in King'ong'o -Nyeri.

On the plight of the outlawed Mungiki sect that has spread in the Central province, the archbishop questioned, "what can we do to bring Christ to these young people, how can we bring them to Christ. What is it that they did not have, a deep catechesis?"

Meanwhile, Sr. Jacinta Theuri, the regional superior of the Consolata Sisters in Kenya in her speech termed the jubilee celebration a "special event that marks our rebirth, a new beginning".

We have come 100 years, we are here today and we want to look forward to another 100 years. Consolata Missionary does not mean you are a sister, a priest or a brother, it means a person who has experienced the love of Christ deeply in his life.

Sr. Jacinta took the opportunity on behalf of all the Consolata fathers, brother and sisters to ask for forgiveness to anybody who has been wronged in any way by the Consolata Missionaries. "Forgive us because we want to start the new century with this word of forgiveness. I think that when we learn to forgive, we become true carriers of consolation."

Also present at the occasion was the Nobel Peace Prize Laurate, Professor Wangari Maathai a product of the Consolata Sisters. "My mission in life is to remind people that we are part of the environment. The mission of the Consolata Missionaries is to console and reconcile we need to console and reconcile with the environment. I am quite sure that if Jesus were here today he would talk about the environment," Wangari said.

The Consolata Missionary Sisters is an International congregation founded on January 29, 1910 in Turin by Blessed Joseph Allamano (Ten years after the Consolata Fathers).They arrived in Kenya in 1913.

Today the congregation boasts of 746 members worldwide 700 finally professed, 38 juniors and 8 novices. Presently there are 80 sisters working in Kenya in seven dioceses - Mombasa, Nyeri, Marsabit, Maralal, Embu, Nairobi and Meru.