, MILAN, Italy, Jun 18 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has visited the town of Anfo in Italy, where the recently beatified Sister Irene ‘Nyaatha’ was born, and presented a gift from Kenya.
During discussions with the Mayor Mabellini Gianpietro, she presented a portrait of Mt. Kenya as gift from the people of Kenya and proposed the twining of Nyeri and Anfo for pilgrimage tourism between Kenya and Italy.
Kandie on her part praised Sr. Stefani’s love and compassion for people, especially the people of Kenya. “That is why we felt it was important to recognize all that she had done for our country through this gift as a symbol of our gratitude and eternal friendship to the town and people of Anfo,” Kandie explained.
Kandie said the recent ceremony of beatification of ‘Nyaatha’ has presented an opportunity for Kenya to host pilgrims and noted that linkages between Nyaatha’s motherland and Nyeri where she died will enhance pilgrimage tourism.
The beatification of Sr. Stefani was done on May 23, 2015 in Nyeri town and brought together thousands of pilgrims from across the world. The Venerable Sr. Irene Stefani (in baptism Aurelia Jacoba Mercede) was born on August 22, 1891 in Anfo (Brescia) – Italy.
She travelled to Kenya in 1915 where she worked as a nurse at British military hospitals during WW1. Following the war, she settled in Nyeri, where she became known as ‘Nyaatha’ meaning “mother of mercy” in the Kikuyu language, where she worked until she died in 1930 at the age of 39.
“We shall be discussing with the County of Nyeri for the possibility of twining the two areas as a launching pad of pilgrimage tourism not only for the two countries but for other pilgrims across the globe,” said Kandie.
The CS who is in Italy for Milan Expo was accompanied by Kenya’s Ambassador to Italy Josephine Gaita, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa, Tourism Secretary Anne Kinyua and Bomas of Kenya General Manager Ahamed Quresh.
Over 20 million visitors are expected to attend EXPO Milano 2015, which is providing Kenya with a significant platform to promote many of the unique resources that makes the country such a compelling destination for tourism, trade and investment.
The Anfo mayor praised Sister Stefani’s work of mercy and compassion that have made her an icon in Kenya and Italy and pledged to work with Kenya in strengthening her legacy. Anfo is located in the beautiful Brescia Mountains with about 500 residents.
“The residents of Anfo are honoured to receive this gift from the people of Kenya on Sister Irene’s behalf. To know that someone from our small town has had such an impact on a country half way around the word is truly special. This beautiful picture of Mount Kenya will serve as reminder to us all that each and everyone one of us can and should try to make the world a better place,” said the Mayor.