NYERI FEBRUARY 17, 2017 (CISA) – The Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri on February 17 opened Irene Stefani Nyaatha Shrine in Gikondi where the Consolata Missionary Sister lived and worked for 10 years.
The opening ceremony of the shrine was presided over by John Cardinal Njue of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi who conducted the blessing rite in the presence of Archbishop Peter Kairo of Nyeri and Bishop Anthony Mukobo of Isiolo Vicariate.
“Let the blessing of this shrine not be a formality,” said Cardinal Njue adding: “Let it be a house of prayer where you will go when you have joy, difficulties or challenges.”
Cardinal Njue said that Sr Irene Stefani’s beatification was a great step for the Church in Nyeri and Kenya at large, and that the presence of Consolata Missionaries in the country was a gift from God.
“They planted the seed and now it is our responsibility to water it and to weed it so that it can grow and produce more fruits. A heritage has been left and our challenge is to see how best that heritage can be bettered and left to those who will come later,” he said.
He further called on the Consolata Missionary Sisters to consider going back to the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri specifically to Gikondi saying that their mission there is not finished.
The shrine consists of a chapel and an art gallery with chronological biography of Blessed Irene’s life history.
The two-storey building is located behind Our Lady of Providence Gikondi Parish and is built around the foundations of the house where Sr Irene lived and died.
Speaking during the same event,Sr Sarafina Sergi, Regional Superior Consolata Missionary Sisters said that the shrine is now a physical sign of the presence of Sr Irene among the people she loved and served.
“This shrine is a house of mercy, love and reconciliation and it should be a place where we come to pray not only for our needs but to entrust the hand of God to all the people and the needs of our county and the world,” she stated.
Sr Irene Stefani was declared as Blessed on May 23, 2015 at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in a ceremony officiated by Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, the Papal delegate for the beatification making her the first to be beatified in Kenya.