NYERI, 23 May – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday urged Kenyans to learn from the life of Sister Irene Stefani whose beatification in Nyeri was attended by thousands of Catholic pilgrims from all over the world.
The President, Deputy President William Ruto and former President Mwai Kibaki joined the faithful who witnessed the historic beatification of Sister Irene, who was fondly known as Sister Nyaatha, at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.
Speaking during the ceremony, the first of its kind on the African continent, the President challenged Kenyans to emulate Sister Stefani’s compassion to serve mankind thousands of kilometers from her country of origin.
The President observed that although Sister Irene, who is now known as Blessed Irene, had a better life back in Italy, she decided to forgo the comfort of her family to follow God’s calling to come and serve in Africa, where she knew nobody and had no relatives.
“She had no relative here in Nyeri but came to give the word and use her talent to serve all who were around here,” said the President.
He said her life is proof that the greatest contributors to the wellbeing of society are the good actions of individual members.
“It is not big governments and everything we do, it is the single individual’s life and work that can begin the process of changing communities, bringing peace and healing,” said the President.
The President thanked missionaries for their work and assured that the Government will continue partnering with the Church in providing services to communities to improve livelihoods.
The Head of State also called on Kenyans to be tolerant with each other’s faith since religious freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution.
“There is no faith that is superior to the other and no faith that can force others in one way or the other to believe in what people themselves have not accepted,” President Kenyatta said.
He said the Government is committed to protecting and preserving the rights of all Kenyans to exercise and practise their faith without fear.
“We shall not agree to be intimidated by few individuals who deem it fit to dictate to others that which they should not do.”