History of the Camillian sisters in Kenya
The Religious Institute of the Sister Ministers of the Infirm (MI) established its first foundations in Kenya in 1976. The first 3 missionary sisters to this mission land were namely; Sr. Mary Grace Luchessi, Sr. Veronica Tondini and Sr. Emily Balbinot, who for the very first time in history landed on the beautiful land of Kenya, and established the first ever community in African soil at Tabaka Mission Hospital – Kisii Diocese, Kisii County, in Nyanza province. Their main purpose and mission was to provide integrated, comprehensive and professional health services to the poor, sick and abandoned needy brethren, both in the hospital setting and in their homes. Inspired by the charism, they started their missionary activities together with the Camillian missionary Fathers in Tabaka Mission Hospital in Kisii Diocese.
Rooted in their Charism and committed to become more authentic witnesses, the sisters were moved with great desire to extend their mission of evangelization through their healing ministry, hence, in 1984, the MI sisters extended their comprehensive health services to the Diocese of Ngong, Kajiado County. Motivated by the charism of their Mother Foundress, the sisters served the sick people and more especially women of all categories at Fatima Health Centre in the maternity department, in the Nutrition Centre for sick children, the abandoned; the HIV/AIDS infected and affected children. The Sisters served with joy and generosity the elderly abandoned women within the Centre, striving to give all under their care a dignified life and love of Christ through which they are called to serve.
In 1992, the MI Sisters established a health care facility (dispensary) at Masai Lane, Karen, mainly to offer health services and formation on family life to disadvantaged and needy people from the nearby slums (Kuwinda, Gataka and Stony) hence promoting family values in the society. The services provided today include curative, preventive, and rehabilitative services and promotion of health through health education to the patients. This is done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Catholic Church which supports our health services through the dispensary. In accordance with the spirit of MI vocation and the fourth vow “service to the sick and the needy even at the risk of one’s life…” they care for the sick, regardless of gender, creed, condition, time or place.
In 2007, the sisters started another new Mission in Wajir County, North Eastern Province, by courageously advancing to embrace the realities and challenges of the people of Wajir through the Wajir Catholic Mission Rehabilitation Centre (WCM). Through the Dispensary and the WCM Rehabilitation Centre, the sisters reach out to many more marginalized, abandoned and malnourished children and elderly in their own families. Thus the Sisters extend the healing ministry of Christ through home visits of the poorest, attending to the most abandoned sick in the Centre, and outreach mobile clinics in the villages (Bullas) commonly known as “Manyattas”.
With the growing enthusiasm and the zeal for service to the suffering humanity, the sisters have established religious communities in different parts of Kenya where they strive to respond to the societal needs. Thus today, the MI sisters carry out their mission in four provinces namely: Nyanza, Nairobi, North Eastern and Rift valley provinces respectively. In these regions, the sisters are engaged in the apostolate such as: Rehabilitation of the physically challenged children and young adults, health care services in Hospitals and dispensaries, Home based health care services in the slums and villages, women empowerment projects, and Distance Adoption program for needy children.
Recruitment and formation of the local vocations (Kenyan sisters) began in the year 1987 with the first 2 Kenyan sisters. Today, the numbers have grown to 35 professed sisters and with 10 Sisters in the initial stages of formation.