NAIROBI, JANUARY 13, 2015 (CISA) – A team of pilgrims accompanying the walking staff of St. Teresa of Avila as it journeys around the world arrived in Nairobi on January 10, the first stop in Africa.
The pilgrimage dubbed “Way of Light” began on October 15 2014 -St Teresa’s feast day and will end in Avila on 28 March 2015.
The pilgrimage that began in Alba de Tormes Spain was organized by the Discalced Carmelites to mark St. Teresa’s 500th birthday.
According to CAANA, the first stop for the pilgrims visiting Kenya was at the Mount Carmel community of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Lavington, Nairobi which was celebrating on the same day the 75th anniversary of the founding of their monastery.
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue of Nairobi presided over the anniversary Eucharistic celebration alongside Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui Diocese and Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu of Chapata Diocese in Zambia.
“For the (Carmelite) sisters, the arrival of the staff was as if St. Teresa herself had come to join the celebration,” said Fr Steven a Carmelite and Principal of the Nairobi-based Tangaza University College.
On Sunday, January 11, the walking staff was on view at the community chapel of the Discalced Carmelite friars on Lang’ata South Road in Karen, and on Monday morning, January 12, St. Teresa’s it was taken in procession by the Carmelite Friars to nearby Tangaza University College.
“From there (Tangaza University College) the team and walking staff were driven to the community of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Tindinyo (Eldoret Diocese), and will continue on afterwards to Kisii before reaching Tanzania and Madagascar,” Fr Payne told CANAA.
Other African countries to receive St. Teresa’s walking staff before heading back to Europe include Ivory Coast (January 27-28), Burkina Faso (January 30-February 2), and Togo (February 5 – 7).
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) is a Doctor of the Church and founder of the Discalced Carmelites and the walking staff is a symbol of her own spiritual journey, inviting pilgrims to continue walking with her.
According to Fr Payne, “The African part of the pilgrimage is especially significant because of Teresa’s keen interest in the African missions, and her enthusiastic approval of the plan that the first mission of her friars be in Africa (Kingdom of Kongo).”