On February 6th 2020 the Daughters of Charity celebrated twenty years of service in Kenya.
The first sisters arrived in Kenya from the Irish and British Provinces at the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002. The first two houses were opened in January 2002 in Thigio, approximately 25 miles from Nairobi and in Chepnyal, far up to the north- west, near the Ugandan border. Now, in 2022, the Kenya Mission has six houses, soon to be seven, with 25 Kenyan sisters and 8 ex-patriate sisters. The service to people living in poverty is extensive reaching out to the aged, youth, vulnerable children, street children, children and adults with disabilities, women who with their families are living in poverty, people living with HIV/AIDS and those in need of palliative care.
The development of services and the growth of the community over the past twenty years was indeed reason to give thanks to God with joy and celebration for all that has been accomplished in God’s name. So on that day February 6th all the Daughters of Charity gathered for the Eucharistic celebration to give thanks, to remember and to honour all those sisters who had played a part in the development of the Kenya Mission. It was also a great joy to have with us on the day Sr. Goretti Butler, Provincial of the Irish province, giving witness to the very strong link of the Kenya Mission with Ireland and of the huge part the latter has played in the growth, development and sustainability of the mission here in Kenya.
Towards the end of the day after some fun activities which everyone enjoyed we participated in the book launch of “The Story of a Mission” which narrates the life and service of the Daughters of Charity in Kenya over the past twenty years. It was written by Sr Catherine Mulligan who as Provincial in Ireland sent the first sisters to Kenya in October 2001 and who now working in Kenya continues to be part of the story.
Our celebration day also remembered all those who have served, volunteered and supported the Kenya Mission in whatever way. We are grateful to so many. In giving thanks we also entrust the next twenty year into God’s hands with confidence.
Words from Sr. Goretti Butler DC (Provincial Daughters of Charity Ireland):
I had the joy of visiting our Mission in Kenya and joined with the Sisters in celebration of twenty years of the growth and development of the mission. Sr. Liz, co-ordinator of the Mission there, Sr. Catherine Mulligan and the Sisters were very keen to celebrate this milestone. They put a lot of planning into the celebration. Sr. Catherine has written the story of the mission from its beginning discussions in 2000 or earlier at the request of the General Council. This story makes wonderful reading. It is a story of hope and of what can be achieved by real co-operation and generosity by a pioneering group of Sisters from different Provinces of the Daughters of Charity.
The day of the celebration was Sunday 6th February 2022. The day began at 7.45am with a lovely celebration of the Eucharist which had singing, dancing and many symbols. It was celebrated by Fr. Edwin who is the leader of the Vincentian Fathers in Kenya. He gave a wonderful homily. Through it all there was a great sense of gratitude to God for the way the Mission has been blessed and of how the Mission has developed in ways that we could not have anticipated. All the Sisters who came from the different Provinces and have now returned as as those four Sisters who have died were remembered in a special way.
Mass was followed by breakfast and then it was time for the fun to begin. Sr. Liz welcomed all the Sisters and gave an interesting talk outlining all the developments and what we were there to celebrate. She thanked everyone for all they had done to make the day possible. Then each local community did an activity to celebrate the occasion. There were games, topical issues, music and dance. It finished with a special celebratory meal in the evening.
It was a wonderful day of thanksgiving and celebration and I was so privileged to be part of it. It will live long in my memory. Praise God!