Friday, 28th May 2010 was a great and blessed day for the Sisters of Mercy, Kenyan Province and indeed for the whole Mercy Congregation. On that day, Sr. Celestine Kakwasi Muli and Sr. Lucy Watiri Gachuki made Profession of Final Vows in St. Austin’s Catholic Church, Msongari, Nairobi.
The ceremony was presided over by His Grace, Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homa Bay Diocese and number of priests concelebrated with him at the Eucharistic celebration. Sr. Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader, received Srs. Celestine and Lucy’s vows and Sr. Susan De Guide from CLT was present.
Srs. Celestine Muli and Coirle McCarthy, Congregational Leader
The solemn celebration was both colourful and inspiring. St Austin’s is the oldest Catholic church in Nairobi, founded by the French Holy Fathers in 1899. Venerable Edel Quinn, among others, is buried in the cemetery on the grounds of this church, as are our late Srs. Gerard, Therese Noel and Regina. May all R.I.P.
Our sisters traveled from various parts of Kenya to be with Lucy and Celestine on their special day and all sang Catherine’s ‘Suscipe’ in an act of thanksgiving and offering as the congratulations continued. The Gachuki and Muli families, their extended families, relatives and friends and Christians from Nguutani and Ngenya as well from other parishes where the two sisters lived and worked, came in large numbers to celebrate and rejoice with them.
Makadara parish choir and group of liturgical dancers enlivened and enhanced the liturgy with lively music and song. The postulants, novices and temporary professed sisters sang and danced in the Bible procession and other liturgical dances and a group of our temporary professed sisters sang the Responsorial Psalm.
Some of our Mercy banners decorated the church and the words ‘My God I am yours for time and eternity’ had a special meaning for us on that day.
Srs. Lucy Gachuki and Coirle McCarthy
During the examination of the candidates as Sr. Coirle asked the questions, Srs. Celestine and Lucy each answered confidently and in full voice ‘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 to God’s people. Sr. Coirle congratulated and thanked their parents and spoke of how faith is nurtured in the family. She also reminded the two that our Mercy sisters all over them world were remembering them in prayer at this time.
During the solemn prostration all knelt in prayer as the Litany of the Saints was sung in Kiswahili. Sr. Celestine said her vows in Kikamba and in English. Sr. Lucy said her vows in Kikuyu and in English. As each signed her vows there was great clapping and ululations as everybody in the congregation rejoiced. Bishop Anyolo referred to the Gospel reading chosen for the day (John 21: 15-17) as he said God is love and love is the key to everything. He told the two professed to go with God in love on their journey through life. He also commented on Sr. Stella McCormack’s article ‘Choosing a Motto in life’ which he had read in ‘Spirituality’.
Srs. Celestine Muli, Coirle McCarthy, Lucy Gachuki and Liz Fletcher (Provincial Leader)
After Mass we went to the newly opened parish hall which was large enough to accommodate our 650 guests. Fr. John Mbindu C.S.Sp. who is in charge of St. Austin’s Parish, made a special effort to organize the workers to finish the building on time so that it would be ready for the big day. We had the honour of being the first guests in the new hall and all enjoyed a delicious lunch there. Later we had the cutting of the cake and the Makadara choir provided entertainment as they also advertised the new C.D.!
On Sunday 30th May a number of our sister joined Sr. Lucy, her family and the Christians of Ngenya Parish for Sr. Lucy’s thanksgiving Mass. It was a lively Kikuyu celebration with a great spirit of joy and praise. Fr. Stephen Omondi and the Christians of the parish welcomed us well and all were invited for lunch afterwards.
Sr. Celestine, who started the Formation Training Program for Africa in Karen, Nairobi on 30th May, will have her thanksgiving Mass in her Nguutani Parish on 8th August D. V.
‘Were you wedded to an earthly prince, the honour would be a passing one, but the honour and glory of being consecrated to the King of Kings, will endure forever.’ – Catherine McAuley
Hongera/Congratulations Sr. Celestine!
Hongera/Congratulations Sr. Lucy!
We wish you both many happy years in the service of the Lord in Mercy.
Margaret O’Brien rsm