Comboni Lay Missionaries

Staying true to our nature

Hello Saints!

The month is still fairly new, so please allow me to begin by saying happy new month!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the women out there, especially in and around the Comboni Family, a happy women’s day, celebrated internationally this past Friday, the 8th of March. Did you know that our patron St. Daniel Comboni was a great champion for women? All through his mission work, he was insistent on the importance of including women in evangelisation. On May 5th 1878 (W5117) he wrote: “…My secret, based on my long experience of 21 years, is this: in a mission station in which there are six or seven sisters, I only need to put two missionary priests. Two priests and six sisters in a mission in Central Africa will do more good than a Mission with twelve priests and no sisters. This is a fact.” (Pg. 24, Daniel Comboni, Witness of Holiness and Master of Mission.) ‘Without women missionaries, men would achieve nothing in Africa.’ (Pg. 186, The Spirituality of Daniel Comboni by John Manuel Lozano.) To every female, I hope you feel seen, loved and appreciated. You are wonderfully and fearfully made and you deserve to be celebrated every day!

This past weekend, beginning Friday 8th to Sunday 10th March, we, the Comboni Lay Missionaries – Kenya had our monthly formation meeting. We had a guided recollection at Uganda Martyrs Scholasticate with Fr. Sylvester Hategek’Imana MCCJ. We delved a little more into what our identity is as CLM – adding to what Fr. Maciek taught us last month. My identity and my call/vocation to be a CLM should never be in conflict. My values and my work must always reflect my identity as a CLM. We have been called to be the salt and the light of the world. We must let our light shine before men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. Mathew 5:13-16.

Fr. Sylvester shared this beautiful story with us. Once there was a holy old man who loved to meditate every morning under a large tree on the banks of a river. One morning, after he had finished his meditation, he noticed a large scorpion stuck, fighting helplessly against the strong current of the river. He reached out his hand to help free the Scorpion and immediately the Scorpion stung him. And again, he reached out his hand to help free the scorpion. A young man who was passing by saw this. He asked the old man, “Why risk your life to save such an ugly useless creature?” The holy old man was in much pain having been stung violently, severally. In his pain, he said to the young man, “Friend, because it is in the nature of a scorpion to sting why should I give up my own nature to save?” The world is consumed with different shades of darkness. Our nature as CLM is rooted in Christ. We have been called to be kind, loving, empathetic, selfless, forgiving and so much more. In our daily lives, we get stung – by friends, family, employers etc. We can only find solace in Christ. At no point must we allow it to alter our nature.

We also learnt that love and forgiveness go hand in hand. The greatest commandment is love. Christ is the embodiment of love. That a man should give up his life for the sake of his friends. There is no greater love. And while Jesus was stretched out on the cross, he showed mercy to his persecutors and asked the Lord to ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Jesus set a great example for us. He expects much of us. Every day we must love more and forgive more. Christ will give us the grace to love the unlovable and forgive those who show no remorse.

This weekend was more special as we had a chance to hear from Fr. Gregor MCCJ, the Provincial of the Comboni Community in South Sudan. He was pleased to learn of our formation program for CLM-K. In Juba, they only have Friends of Comboni. They are yet to have Comboni Lay Missionaries. Christianity is very young in South Sudan. So young that the first generation of Christians in Nuer are still alive. The country is also young. Infrastructure is almost non-existent and illiteracy levels are as high as 70%. It was very grounding to hear of the work the missionaries are doing in South Sudan. Being a missionary there requires that you truly give up everything and offer up your life in service to God. We are very thankful to Fr. Gregor for taking the time to share with us and indulge our curiosity.

We would like to thank the Scholasticate for having us through the weekend. Your environment offers the stillness that one requires when seeking and hearing from our Lord. Thank you for your hospitality that knows no bounds.

We would also like to thank the Comboni priests stationed at Holy Trinity Kariobangi for allowing us to do our apostolate there and at the outstation, on Sunday.

This coming Saturday, March 16th, all Comboni family will gather to commemorate St. Daniel Comboni’s Birthday. St. Daniel Comboni pray for us that we may follow in your footsteps. May we use our time on earth to prepare for heaven.

This fourth week of Lent, let us reflect on what matters most in this life. St. Mother Teresa said, “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’”

Remember, the goal is heaven.


Cecilia Nyamu

Comboni Lay Missionary – Kenya

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