But From The Hills Of Pokot Saying “My God And My All…Here I Am For You Have Called Me.”
Sr. Jackline Chepjumba Chemekuro was the reason why family and friends from Sina Catholic Parish – West Pokot, Kitale Diocese travelled all day long and arrived in their numbers in the Novitiate on the evening of 4th of December 2020. They were hopeful that the day ahead would reward their fatigue from their long journey. Unusual to the Novitiate, this week was especially different. There were many Sisters, and a buzz of activities as everyone worked hard to ensure the final touches to the preparations were done to the best standards possible. There was a lot of warmth and cheer that evening as family met their daughter, and as Sisters met their new family.
The fifth day of December year 2020 dawned. The day that the Lord has made, we would be glad and rejoice in it. On that morning, all roads led to the Cathedral Church of Christ the King – Nakuru. It was very symbolic that the bride of the day came from the very heart of formation that morning to say yes to her call to Mercy.
Sr. Jackline is brought forward by her loving parents
All the Sisters were adorned with the traditional ornaments from the Pokot community, the family and friends from West Pokot were in their traditional attire and traditional songs and dance were the days’ highlight. Sr. Jackline is the first Sister of Mercy from the Pokot Community in Kenya.
The celebration of the Holy Mass started at 10.00hrs with a beautiful procession by all the Sisters and clergy present. The choir from St. Monica Catholic Church – Section 58, beautifully led us in the singing, and the Liturgical dancing was led by the young Sisters in Temporary Vows and the Novices. The youth from Sina Parish could not hold back their joy and they too joined in the dancing. The energy and solemnity of the Eucharistic Celebration blended well.
Sr. Jackline and her flower girls share their heart warming and infectious smiles
The Bishop in his homily, encouraged all the Christians present and especially the religious to listen carefully to the call of God. He said that most of the individuals who heard God’s call had a complaint, like Jeremiah who complained of being too young. The Bishop emphasized that obedience to the call of God is the main virtue that is required by the person whom He chooses. No matter the reason behind our inadequacy in following Him; age, language, rank or talent; God’s mission ought to be the goal and aim of our obedience to Him. God promises to show his chosen ones the place to go and the manner of delivering the message.
He also urged all the religious to love the people whom they have been called to serve. God promises to be a shield to His servants not necessarily by keeping away sufferings from His chosen ones but by outpouring His graces. His grace is enough to sustain the minister. He added that God calls us from our ordinary life to a Godly inclined life as his mouth piece and not to do our will but His will.
The call and mission is the work of God, not ours, our role is to obey. He calls whoever He wills for His own glory, those who love each other without preferences (Agape Love) and who keep his commandments. He encouraged parents to promote vocations in their families. He concluded by thanking Sr. Jackline’s parents for their support and generosity in accepting to offer their daughter to the church. God is always merciful, loving and faithful. He is inviting us to be the same.
It was all jubilation as the Sisters and the congregants congratulated Sr. Jackline after she signed her vows, received the ring and was formally welcomed into a life-long membership in the Congregation. Joy and gratitude was written all over Sr. Jackline’s face. Her infectious smile and laughter made the day even more colorful. Thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, there were no congratulatory hugs. But the hearts were bound very closely together by the spirit of Mercy.
Sr. Mary Gitau welcomes Sr. Jackline into the life-long commitment as a Religious Sister of Mercy
On behalf of the Congregational Leader – Sr. Marie Louise White, Sr. Mary Gitau welcomed Sr. Jackline into full membership of the Congregation. She also delivered to the Congregants the message from the Congregational Leader which emphasized LOVE, and this resonated with the Bishops message in his homily. Through Sr. Mary Gitau, the Pontifical Commissary of the Kenyan Province, Sr. Marie Louise sent blessings and thanked Sr. Jackline’s family and formators for accompanying Sr. Jackline in her formation journey. She recognized that Sr. Jackline’s profession was a sign of her witness to love, by risking to offer her life back to God. The three vows urged her to love, share, and follow Christ fully through prayer and recognizing Gods unconditional love for her in her daily life and life in the community. ‘Love is a lifelong task that entails loving one another in community, workplace, province and wherever we live and serve… love and mercy are two sides of the same coin both expressed in deeds …and in the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy. She reminded all the professed members to support Sr. Jackline in her vocation and renew their own commitment… Mercy life must be attractive by our way of acting and of living in totality.’
After mass the people were welcomed for lunch and cake cutting. Sr. Jackline served all the members present the sweetness of her life through the sharing of her very beautiful cake. The cake was Symbolic in that it had the concept of Prayer, the Word of God, Community, Mercy Charism and family as its theme.
Sr. Jackline, her parents and the Sisters get ready for the cake cutting ceremony
The climax of the day finally came. The efforts that had been made through the months of intense preparations were rewarded. The day had been a success. Sr. Jackline is now a Finally Professed Sister. The family, friends, clergy and the Sisters shared light moments, took photos, danced to the traditional songs and one by one guests left at their own leisure.
As a Province, we are grateful to God for his blessings and for making all our plans a success. We have a lot of gratitude to all people who through their generosity of time and/or resources made all things flow smoothly and efficiently.
The parishioners from West Pokot went home a happy lot. The name of their parish “SINA” a Kiswahili word which mean ‘I do not have’ was on 5th of December 2020 adapted to “TUNA” which means ‘we do have’ after Sr. Jackline Chemekuro gave her life totally to the Lord and to the service of the people of God as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy.
Sr. Regina Kariuki and Sr. Rose Maranga