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Beginnings of the Nairobi Community

Beginnings of the Nairobi Community. 20 th of July 1984 an“ALITALIA” plane landed at the JKIA in Nairobi. bringing 3 Sisters who will open the community in Nairobi - Hurlingham. THE FIRST COMMUNITY OF NAIROBI:. Sr. Mary Riva. Sr. Rosetta Guarnier. Sr. Marietta Vettical.

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Beginnings of the Nairobi Community

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  1. Beginnings of theNairobi Community

  2. 20th of July 1984 an“ALITALIA” plane landed at the JKIA in Nairobi bringing 3 Sisters who will open the community in Nairobi - Hurlingham

  3. THE FIRST COMMUNITY OF NAIROBI: Sr. Mary Riva Sr. Rosetta Guarnier Sr. Marietta Vettical

  4. They came accompanied by Sr. Lia Sperandio, the Provincial of Turin “The sky was cloudy, the air cold but the welcome given to us by Sr. Rosa Farina was very warm. Her embrace was a manifestation of affection and joy.”(Chronicle, pg.1)

  5. “At the gate of our house there was a watchman, Mr. Jackson, who welcomed us with a beautiful smile.” (Chronicle 1984, pg.1)

  6. “ This property belonged to Mrs. Monteiro who before leaving together with her son for Australia did everything to make sure that her house would go into the hands of a Religious Congregation”. (Chronicle 1984 pg.1) “This will be the house for welcoming people and a link with other houses in East Africa.” (Chronicle 1984 pg.1)

  7. Main Entrance Back of the house

  8. The community with Sr. Lia Sperandio

  9. “Mother Lia was so much in a hurry to set up the house, that still, on the day of our arrival she went to town with Sr. Rose to buy material for the curtains.” (Chronicle 1984 pg. 2)

  10. 24th July 1984: “The beautiful statue of Mary Help of Christians brought from Rome dominates our community room…On the wall behind her Sr. Marietta wrote “Salamu Maria”… so with this greeting we start this new day, the first “24th “asking her to bless this house, her house where she will reign always” (Chronicles 1984, pg. 5)

  11. 21st July 1984 The life of the little community started: Unpacking boxes Preparing food

  12. 22nd July 1984 “At 9.00 am we went to the military headquarters for the Mass. After obtaining the pass to enter we walked under curious glances of the soldiers, passed by many tends and houses and finally reached the Catholic chapel. As we entered, a sea of little heads turned around to look at us…however it was time to start the Mass, Fr. Pietro was already at the altar….. We were struck by the perfect singing of the people and by their pious attitude during the Mass….. After the Mass….shaking of many friendly hands and answering many questions: who are we? why are we here? where do we stay? In fact, we came back from the church at midday accompanied by a group of children who wanted to see the house of their Sisters that will also become their house”. (Chronicle 1984 pg. 4)

  13. On the 26th July, the first two girls came to the Oratory. That was a beginning of beautiful gatherings where praying and playing together gave joy to many children from the neighboring houses. (Chronicles 1984, pg 7)

  14. 29th July 1984 After supperwe take advantage of the last minutes of the presence of our Provincial with us to share with her our projects and our dreams. After the prayers we are ready to accompany her to the airport. We have nothing to give her to bring to Italy, then we have an idea… to put a bit of the red African soil in a small bottle. We ask her to offer it during the Mass at the General Chapter as a sign of hope for the work which the daughters and sons of Don Bosco will do in Africa… …after a quick embrace and checkin at the passport counter Mother Lia disappears quickly. We remained silent in front of this reality…but it is here where good God wants the three of us to be, to do a mission which is all his.” (Chronicles 1984, pg 9)

  15. 12th August 1984 “The Oratory of this afternoon was very active. About 40 children participated in games, songs and prayer. The children even brought some musical instruments. Sr. Mary gave a gift to Judith because she brought 6 new children to the Oratory. We hope that Our Lady will help us to carry on with this activity so dear to Don Bosco. We even bought some games for the children”. (Chronicle 1984 pg.16)

  16. 16th August, 1984 “The catechist from the Military Quarters came today to give us bad news. He suggested that we close the Oratory. The parents of some Protestant children complained to him that through our teaching we bring confusion to their religious convictions. We feel very bad for being forced to close this beautiful activity. The parents of the Catholic children forbade them to come to the Oratory afraid that it may create tension between them and the Protestant neighbours. It breaks our hearts to see the children at the gate … Sr. Mary had to tell them that for now the Oratory is closed. They go away sad and ask if they can come at least on Sunday…” (Chronicle 1984 pg.16)

  17. Since we have no chapel, Fr. Luke Van Loy and other visiting priests celebrate the Mass for us in the community room……

  18. Almost from the first days we realized that our house will really be a house of welcoming and accommodating various visitors: Salesians, volunteers, family members, Sisters from other Congregations and of course our own Sisters from other communities.

  19. For example: “Sr. Lila, Sr. Anna and Sr. Lucy (Servants of Mary Immaculate) from Korr came on the 18th November 1984 to make their Annual Retreat in our House. For us it is additional work but we have also the joy to see that our house became a place of prayer” (Chronicle 1984, pg. 39) “On the 9th December at 7.00 Sr. Rosetta and Fr. Felice went to the Airport to meet Fr. Abbate who arrived from Italy…we welcomed him very cordially and are full of appreciation for his enthusiasm and zeal to start a new life at 73 years of age” (Chronicle 1984, pg. 44)

  20. “Our days are occupied with many trips to various offices for the registration of ourselves as individuals and of the Congregation. We search for some apostolate…we are still very sad for the Oratory that we had to close… With the help of the Salesians we are trying to get our boxes which are still in the port of Mombasa…and the many boxes which belong to the Sisters of Tonj….. There are still legal procedures to be finalized before we could complete the payment for the house….. …..and we dream of having a little chapel with the Eucharist in our house…. In the meantime Sr. Rosetta and Sr. Marietta learn Kiswahili in the CPK language school….”

  21. 7th November 1984 “Today, before starting to make the floor of the chapel, exactly in the place of the altar, we have placed a bottle containing various relics of our Saints with the pictures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and a short prayer that the good God would make this place a place of prayer, Adoration, Thanksgiving, Reparation and Petition. After three months of waiting we feel very strongly the need of the presence of the Eucharistic Jesus. We hope that this blessed day arrives soon.” (Chronicles 1984, pg. 37)

  22. 26th November 1984 “Mr. Giovanni Putton kept his word. The works are finished and the chapel is ready…but we are very sorry that the tabernacle has not yet arrived…We know that our boxes are already in Mombasa, but it takes time to get them out.” (Chronicles 1984, pg. 41) 16th January 1985 “In the evening Fr. Jacob and Fr. Vincent paid us an unexpected visit. Hearing that today we’ve finally got our tabernacle, they celebrated the Mass and left the Eucharistic Jesus with us, in our little beautiful chapel. Since the chapel is situated in the centre of the house it will be easy to visit Him. We hope that the chapel will really be the Centre and Christ the centre of our hearts.”( Chronicles 1985, pg 8)

  23. “On the 3rd April 1985, the students of Kilimani Primary School, prepared by Sr. Marietta received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion during the Mass celebrated by Fr. Mc Faren in the school. The Principal of the school allowed all the Catholic students from other classes to participate in the Mass and to share the joy of their friends. It was our first experience of this kind and the result was very good…” (Chronicles 1985, pg. 30)

  24. 30 April 1985 “The closing of our Retreat was a bit unusual because of the presence of Fr. Egidio Viganò, the Rector Major of the Salesians. He is in Kenya for the first time, he has arrived from Rome only this morning. We all sat around him to listen to the family news….. Don Viganò celebrated the Mass together with his secretary Fr. Botta and our Retreat preacher, Fr. Sebastian Chako…. Fr. Tony D’Souza, the delegate for East Africa joined us for supper. During the “good night” we assured the Rector Major of our prayers for the success of his visit in Kenya and Tanzania” (Chronicles 1985 pg. 36)

  25. 19th May 1985 “Our dear Mother Lina Chiandotto, a newly elected mother for the Missions, and her secretary Sr. Florita Damayuga are here with us. This is a canonical visit but as always, done in a family spirit…..” (Chronicles 1985 pg. 44)

  26. 24th May 1985 “Our first Feast of Mary Help of Christians in Kenya. We went to Don Bosco in Upper Hill for the 6.00 pm Mass. The Cardinal Mourice Otunga blessed a new, nice chapel dedicated to Mary Help of Christians. The community of the faithful is already quite numerous there. The Salesians plan to build there a big church… the plot is very big and the approval of the Rector Major granted.” (Chronicles 1985 pg. 45-46)

  27. 8th May 1985 “Today we have received a proposal to teach catechism in the school which belongs to the Cathedral . And so we are very happy to be able to teach now in four different places …” (Chronicles 1985, pg. 41)

  28. 9th May 1987 “Today is the 150 anniversary of the birth of our Co-fundress St. Maria D. Mazzarello. While in Mornese the celebrations take place, we here, plant a tree typical for this place, as a symbol of vitality of the spirit of Mornese which will take roots in Africa, especially in Kenya” (Chronicles 1987, pg. 29)

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