‘By the authority vested in me I accept your vows in the name of the Church for the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy…’ These words were spoken by Sr. Coirle McCarthy, our Congregational Leader as she accepted the vows of each of our three new finally professed sisters – Sr. Mary Wangui Kanyi, Sr. Teresiah Njoki Njoroge and Sr. Esther Lopeyok Erus.
The ceremony took place in St. Austin’s Catholic Church, Msongari, Nairobi on 26th August 2011 and was presided over by His Lordship, Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui Diocese who concelebrated with a number of priests in the Eucharistic celebration.
Sr. Mary Wangui Kanyi, Sr. Teresiah Njoki Njoroge and Sr. Esther Lopeyok Erus prostrating before the altar in St. Austin's Church
Sr. Liz Fletcher, our Provincial Leader welcomed all and introduced Sr. Coirle and the visiting sisters. Sr. Susan De Guide from CLT accompanied Sr. Coirle to Nairobi for the occasion and Sr. Maureen Mc Gurran from Northern Province was also present as well as Sr. Maureen Limer from the English Mercy Federation who ministers in Sudan. Most of our sisters were present and traveled from different parts of Kenya. Families, relatives, religious, friends and parishioners came from the shores of Lake Naivasha, from Ngarariga in Central Province and from Kalokol on the shores of Lake Turkana, to celebrate with their daughters Mary, Teresiah, and Esther on their special day. It was indeed a good example of the ‘Church Alive’ and the spirit of togetherness and solidarity added greatly to the celebratory spirit of the day. St. Austin’s parish choir and liturgical dancers did an excellent job as they rendered lively song and dance in a true spirit of joy and praise.
The Temporary Professed sisters sang the Responsorial Psalm and they and the novices sang and dance the ‘Pamoja na Wingi’ (Suscipe in Kiswahili) as a thanksgiving song. The first and second readings were done by family members while the parents and some of our sisters took part in the Offertory Procession.
During the examination of the candidates as Sr. Coirle asked the questions of each of the three to be professed and they answered confidently and loudly ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ as they pledged themselves to deepen their Baptismal commitment by the bond of perpetual profession and to spend their lives in loving service of God’s people. There was a moment of solemnity during the prostration as all knelt and prayed while the Litany of the Saints was sung in Kiswahili. The whole congregation rejoiced as each of the three newly professed signed her vows amidst loud clapping and ululation. Mary said her vows in English and Kiswahili. Teresiah said her vows in English and Kikuyu and Esther said her vows in English and Turkana.
Bishop Muheria’s words were both challenging and inspirational. (He said many but I will mention a few!) He said Mercy is predominantly a quality of God and to grow in mercy we are to grow in godliness, as a group we are like an orchestra with a variety of instruments, each playing its part. Each is to keep in tune and in rhythm and is to keep playing with her eyes on the conductor--Jesus. ‘Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will.’ He said this was the response made by each Sister in full voice at the time of the calling in the beginning of the ceremony. The response is life-giving and the words are good but we also know that we do this with the help of our God who empowers us. ‘Felicity bring fidelity and fidelity bring felicity.’ He invited the three newly professed to be faithful always and to keep company with the One calling them-- to bring God along with them. He said the journey is long and requires slow but sure steps. He compared this with the flower girls who were taking slow and measured steps as they walked up the aisle this day escorting each bride to the altar.
Sr. Mary Wangui Kanyi, Sr. Teresiah Njoki Njoroge, Sr. Esther Lopeyok, Sr. Coirle McCarthy (Congregational Leader), Sr. Liz Fletcher (Provincial Leader)
Sr. Coirle thanked the families of the three sisters and said it is in the family where the seed of their vocations take root. She expressed her gratitude to the families for enabling their daughters to answer their call to Mercy. She referred to the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah and assured the three that God will, as He has promised, give them the strength they need to answer the call in all its fullness. She also spoke on the challenge of the vows and said we are called to search throughout the whole of our lives for God’s will for us and that it is in this we will know happiness. She said each of us has a responsibility to create the community of love that we live in and that each day we are to try to respond to God’s invitation with greater generosity. God’s generosity and faithfulness will never fail.
Sr. Coirle said that this was a happy day for the whole Mercy Congregation. Her prayer for the three newly professed is that of an ever deepening relationship with God, that they will be able to find great joy in the life they have chosen and in whatever place they will be asked to live and minister. After Mass all were welcomed to the parish hall for a meal which ended with the cutting of the cake.
As we passed through the grounds of St. Austin’s we remembered our late Srs. Gerard, Therese Noel and Regina who are buried in the cemetery there. We also remembered Sr. Mary Kanyi’s great grandmother, Katerina Wangare, who was married in St. Austin’s Church in 1938. Katerina was a staunch Christian in the early days of the Catholic Church in Kenya and she gave us a great welcome toMary’s home in Naivasha when we visited there some years ago. May all rest in peace!
Sr. Anne Itotia presided as our M.C. for the day as did her assistant Sr. Kevina O.S.U. who translated into Turkana. Everybody present was kept in touch with what was happening as English, Kswahili, Kikuyu and Turkana languages were used in their ongoing communication throughout the ceremony. On Saturday, 27th August, a number of sisters joined Sr. Teresiah Njoroge her family and the priests and Christians of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Ngarariga for her thanksgiving Mass. On Sunday, 28th August, our sisters joined Sr. Mary Kanyi, her family and the priests and Christians of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Naivasha for her thanksgiving Mass. Sr. Esther Erus will have her thanksgiving Mass at St. Mary’s Parish, Kalokol on 11th September. We wish Mary, Teresiah, and Esther many happy years in Mercy. May they be blessed and may many people be blessed though them as, centered on the God of Mercy, they will reach out in Mercy wherever God’s merciful presence is needed.
Margaret O’Brien RSM
My name is Caroline Akoth Opon’g. I am a first year Novice in the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy.
My name is Chemukuro Chepchumba Jackline. I am 24 years old and was born in Kamelei village, Sina parish of Kitale Diocese in Kenya.
My name is Redempta Mulei, a second year Novice. I am fifth born in my family.
My name is Lilian Bisieri Misaro. I am 24 years old.
Hello! My name is Josephine Nzengi,
On Saturday 6th December 2008, four sisters, Catherine Wamboi Mmanyi, Risper Namarmba Ouma, Virginah Kaingi Kasai and Juliana Kpadoo Yarkwan made their First Profession at Villa Maria, Nairobi. Sisters from the Northern Province, the Nigerian region and the Kenyan Province gathered for the occasion. Sr. Maire McGann from Nigeria, Sisters Anne Lyng, Rose Marie Conlan and Gabriel Stuart from the Northern Province witnessed the First Profession of Sr. Juliana, the first Nigerian profession. Sr. Rose Marie Conlan, from the Northern Province received her vows. It was a wonderful occasion for the Kenyan Province too, as three young sisters took their first vows as Sisters of Mercy. Sr Liz Fletcher, Provincial, received their vows.
Fr. Niall Martin S.P.S celebrated the Mass. He highlighted the message of the Gospel Mark 1:14-20 “Follow me I will make you fishers of people” - comparing the ongoing commitment of a Sister of Mercy to challenging task of a fisherman; his work in endless, and he often has to make hard choices.
The liturgy for the Profession was enhanced by the singing led by the Novices and Postulants. A variety of instruments accompanied them.
After the ceremony, the congregation was entertained by the newly professed and novices, with their director Sr. Catherine Dooley to a heavenly rendition of songs like, “Be Still my Soul’, ‘Whispering Hope”. A fitting conclusion to the ceremony!
All were served with a delicious meal in the Provincial House.
Sr. Rosemary signs her vows
Siku njema huonekana asubuhi—a good day shows itself up in the morning.
Sunday the 17th of August, 2008 was a special day for Sr. Rosemary Gathoni Wanyoike and her family as she made her Final Commitment to Christ. It was also an extra-ordinary day for the Christians in Ikinu Parish where she hails from. The day was cloudy in the morning with fear that it might pour rain any time. This did not happen and the day brightened as it unfolded.
The procession started at the nearby shopping centre about 50 meters away from the Church. The Catholic Womens Association [CWA] escorted Rosemary with songs, dances and ululations up to the church. After a few minutes all the Sisters together with the main celebrant Emeritus Archbishop of Nairobi Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki joined for the procession. There was a great sense of happiness as people joined the choir in singing and dancing the entrance hymn, accompanied by clapping and shouts of joy.
After a brief and enriching homily by the Archbishop Rosemary surrendered her entire life to Christ. She solemnly abandoned herself completely to God in the pronunciation of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The Mercy Sisters then welcomed Rosemary into full membership of the Congregation.
After Mass there was the cutting and sharing of the cake—a symbol of a life shared as Rosemary shared cake with those present. Then all were treated to a meal cooked by the women of the parish. Great entertainment by young and old added to the celebrations. Gifts were presented and the assurance of continued support through prayers for Rosemary. Her motto is “He must increase and I must decrease.”
Rosemary leaves for the Loreto House Formation Programme in Ireland in a weeks time. Our support and prayers go with her on this new lap of her journey in Mercy.
Sr. Teresiah Njoroge
Sr. Agnes Mativo and Sr. Susan DeGuide, Congregational Leadership Team
On the 16th of August 2008 all roads lead to Kathonzweni, to the St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. This was for the great occasion of the Final Profession of Sr. Agnes Musemba Mativo as a religious Sister of Mercy for the rest of her life. Agnes is the third religious sister of her family. Thus for the family it was another day of thanksgiving and generous giving of their beloved daughter and sister to the Church as a Sister of Mercy.
The celebration of Mass was most colourful. The ceremony was presided over by His Grace, Emeritus Archbishop of Mombasa, Rt. Rev John Njenga. It started promptly and the Sisters of Mercy came in droves to witness to yet another who has heard the call from the inspiration of our foundress, Catherine Mc Auley. Sr. Susan DeGuide represented the Congregational Leadership team and Sisters Regina and Mary came all the way from Zambia to witness Agnes finally committing her life to the Lord completely.
The colourful song and dance followed by ululations marked a truly African celebration. People came from the surrounding areas to witness the occasion. Agnes is blessed with a cheerful heart and an enthusiastic spirit. Sr. Sabina, sister to Agnes, came from Brazil and confesses that since childhood Agnes related to God in a very unique way and was sensitive to the needs of others, especially the marginalized. It would seem the seeds of mercy were implanted in her by her family from her earliest days and she knows what it is to trust in the providence of God.
Since her first profession Agnes has served in a number of communities in the Kenyan province and now ministers in the Region of Zambia. She has found home there and works closely with the people in a spirit of joy.
Archbishop Njenga spoke about community life and the concept of “I am because we are, and because we are therefore I am” and the Gospel value of loving and forgiving each other. Agnes is also participating in the Formators Training Programme for Africa. We look forward to another mercy woman who will pass on the mercy charism with enthusiasm.
Sr. Rose Macharia
Srs. Lilian, Nancy, Agnes and Felistas
December 1st brought its blessings to the Kenyan Province, Zambian Region and the Congregation. Four novices, Lilian, Nancy, Felistas and Agnes made First Profession, while four postulants, Beatrice, Willimena, Joyce and Rebecca (Zambia) joined the Novitiate.
Sr Esther Migayo signs her vows in the presence of Srs. Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader
and Liz Fletcher, Provincial Leader
Sr. Esther Muthoni Migayo took her final vows at Karuri Catholic Church on 11th November 2007. Esther's parents walked with her to the altar and she was received by Sr. Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader. Many came to celebrate with Esther and there was song and dance during the celebration and at the reception.
Sr. Selina Wavinya Mbuli took her Perpetual Vows on 10th November 2007 at Wote, Makueni Parish. Bishop Martin Kivuva, Machakos Diocese, was the main celebrant. People came from far and wide to witness this ocassion. Selina was escorted to the altar by her mum and her brother and the parish council and she was received by Sr. Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader.
Sr Catherine Wabwoba signs her vows in the presence of Sr Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader
Sr. Catherine Wabwoba made her Final Commitment at a colourful celebration held at Kabula Parish in Bugoma Diocese on 3 rd November 2007. Among those who witnessed this occasion were the Congregational Leadership Team, members of the Kenyan Province, the Bishop, parents, relatives and the parish at large.
First Profession of Sr Rosemary Karani
Sr Rosemary Karani made First Profession of vows on June 2nd 2007 at Villa Maria, Nairobi, Kenya.
Srs Liz Fletcher (Provincial Leader), Rosemary Karani, Marie Louise White (Director of Formation)
It was a perfect June day and the sisters were in a jovial mood. All were at Villa Maria, Provincial House grounds to witness another great occasion in the life of the Congregation and the Province of Kenya, as Rosemary Wangu Karani took first vows.
Mass began at 11.00am. It was celebrated by Fr. Isidor, Capuchin priest, the singing and dancing was led by the Novices. At the beginning all were surprised when Fr. said that Rosemary was going to give the homily; she was petrified. To everyone’s relief he clarified and said that her life was to be the homily, the vows and the readings. They were teachings of love. Rosemary was congratulated and officially welcomed into the Congregation by all present. At the Offertory different gift symbols were presented; the globe, a candle, a basket of fruits, a growing plant, the Mercy Cross, a portrait of Catherine McAuley, her written vows, a copy of the Constitutions and bread and wine.
All present were treated to a sumptuous lunch. It gave the sisters an opportunity to catch up on news of each other. A cake was shared to mark this occasion.
Rosemary will be living and working in Lokori. May the readings, solemn vows and love be the pathway she walks upon. We wish Rosemary all the best in her life as a professed religious Sister of Mercy.
19th November 2006
Esther Mburu took her Final Vows in a colourful ceremony held at her home Parish Church, Ikinu, Kiambu, Kenya.
People started arriving long before the ceremony started. At 10.30 a.m. the church was already full. Many people
were outside waiting for the Mass to start.
The procession to the church started at 11.00 a.m. Esther was accompanied by the Sisters, choir,
her mother and uncle, (her father was unwell, but was waiting inside the church), dancers, the
Catholic Women's Association and the Bishop.
The Mass was celebrated by Bishop David Kamau, Nairobi Diocese, who comes from the Ikinu Parish. There was great participation at Mass by the people.
Sr. Coirle McCarthy (Congregational Leader) received Esther's vows in the name of the Congregation and the church.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.