NAIROBI APRIL 19, 2016(CISA) – Franciscan sisters of St Anna have opened their new worldwide headquarters in Utawala Nairobi.
The St Anna Divine Mercy Generalate was blessed and opened by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue on April 15, assisted by Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu and Bishop John Oballa Owaa of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong.
Speaking during the ceremony, Cardinal Njue Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi urged the sisters to remain united to ensure the congregation grows further.
“When you are united, you will be able to utilize the various gifts in the right way.Each one of you has her own gift, each one of you has more gifts that the other. Create an environment where all these gifts are accepted and utilized then you will all be builders,” said Cardinal Njue.
He called on the sisters to accept one another in the congregation irrespective of which tribe or community the person comes from.
“There is no community; there is no individual that has all the gifts.Each one has got her richness and her poverty and she cannot eliminate that poverty by herself. There will be the need of the help of the neighbour and even the neighbour has got her own weakness or poverty.Therefore you have to accept one another,” said the prelate.
Bishop John Oballa Owaa further urged the sisters to remain true to their calling and religious charism.
“You must truly remain faithful to your charism so that by the witness of your life many more girls may be inspired to want to join your congregation. This is what will justify and anchor this generalate,” said Bishop Oballa.
He further called on the sisters to expand their territories to the Catholic Diocese of Ngong now that generalate-the principal seat of congregation was in Kenya.
“The generalate coming down to Kenya means a lot to the Church. The sisters will now access the office at the nearest place. Since it’s easily reachable and because the number in this place is growing it is in order that the principal seat is at the place where there is growth not where the sun is setting,” Sr Mary Benigna Aoko, General Superior, Franciscans sisters of St Anna told CISA.
“We hope that our presence in this community of Utawala will bring a lot of change to the people and even to the sisters because being in a new environment means that there will be a lot of things we will be doing together,” concluded Sr Mary Benigna.
The generalate – administrative and spiritual centre of the congregation in Nairobi was opened after the expiry of their chapter in Holland in November 2014 due to lack of new vocations.
“Holland is not in a position to have a chapter because the sisters are getting old and the vocation coming down. In fact for the last 50 years no one joined the congregation in Holland.Therefore for the good of the congregation we thought it was necessary to have the chapter in Kenya,” Sr Vita told CISA in 2014.
The congregation has 186 sisters working in Kenya, Holland and Ethiopia with only 32 remaining in Holland.