Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the spirit of mutual collaboration in its overall Spiritual and Pastoral Mission in Kenya and guided by its vision “You shall be my witnesses (Acts 1:8) for the Sanctification and salvation of all people”, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) writes this appreciation latter to the Leadership of the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK) that brings together the Superiors of Women Religious Congregations in Kenya.
Within its mandate of supervising every apostolate by whomever, in Kenya, KCCB is glad to appreciate the role of AOSK in bringing together the Superiors of Women Religious Congregations in a spirit of solidarity and mutual support. AOSK therefore facilitate s representational membership in KCCB-Commission for Clergy and religious that brings together the representatives of Bishops, Diocesan Clergy on one hand and the representatives of Women and Men Religious on the other hand.
In recognition of the various Congregations of Women Religious that are spread across the twenty six (26) Dioceses in Kenya, we appreciate and support the role of AOSK through which the Congregations’ contribution to the overall Spiritual, Social and Pastoral mandate of the Catholic Church in Kenya is channeled to the KCCB General Secretariat through the Commission for Clergy and Religious. This contribution in the first instance is felt and shared through the Dioceses where several Religious Congregations of both women and men collaborate with the Local Ordinaries directly and where practical apostolate is tangible and gladly quantifiable.
KCCB recognizes and appreciates these Congregations of Women Religious who continue to give their services tirelessly and selflessly for the Social, Spiritual; and Pastoral Mission of the Church in Kenya.
Notably, Women Religious across the Dioceses contribute heavily to the Social Gospel guided by the Catholic Social Teaching. Their Social Faith formation Apostolates are inspired and guided by the key pillars of the Catholic Social Teaching. In the Latter, we find numerous women religious engaged in Catechetical teaching and Liturgical Ministries at the Parish level. In the former, we find social apostolates covering Education and Health Care apostolates, Justice and Peace initiatives and subsidiary income generating activities for the economic empowerment of the people in their concrete environments.
Statistics obtained from the social commissions of KCCB demonstrate the intensive presence of women religious in the various Dioceses running various institutions. According to the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, out of the four hundred and seventy five (475) Catholic Health facilities under this commission, over forty percent (40%) are managed by women religious, despite some of them being owned by Dioceses. These facilities range from Hospitals, Health Centers and Dispensaries. Some of these facilities incorporate Nursing and Clinical Medical training colleges and mobile clinics. Without these facilities, people, especially mothers and children would lack essential health services in the remote and difficult to reach parts of the country.
The same spirit of collaboration is noted in various other sectors, notably Education, Social and Pastoral work. Women Religious continue to collaborate with various Dioceses in running and managing some of the best performing schools in the country. With the Catholic Church as the Sponsor, the Women Religious realize in each school concretely the overall vision of KCCB, that is, Sanctification and Salvation of all people. Apart from education, formation is ensured. While schools of all levels receive just young students, through the initiative of Women Religious, the schools give back to the society responsible citizens ready for the social role in building the society.
Overall, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops acknowledge and appreciates the contribution of the Women Religious Congregations in the achievement of the Mission of the Local Church, The Conference lauds the leadership of AOSK in their role in bringing together the superiors of Women Religious Congregations for co-ordination and mutual support.
The KCCB appreciates all partnerships in Kenya and beyond that have supported women Religious Congregations in their various apostolates. Through them, the lives of the many people have been touched and a big contribution has been made to the social, political, spiritual and economic emancipation of the people of God.
On my own behalf and on behalf of all the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, may I assure all Women Religious Congregations in Kenya our prayerful best wishes and fraternal communion.
Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo.
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.