26 January 2004

Kenya: Former Mother General of Sisters of Mary Dies Suddenly

Nairobi — A former Mother General of the congregation of the Sisters of Mary (SOM) collapsed and died suddenly in Kisii in the early hours of Friday morning, January 23, 2004.

Sr Lucy Wangui SOM, 53, who was until her death the Principal of Sengera Girls High School in the Catholic Diocese of Kisii, was the Congregation?s Mother General from December 1993 to December 1997. She will be buried on Saturday, January 31, 2004.

The current Mother Superior of the Sisters of Mary is Sr. Sabina Mbenge SOM, who was in Nairobi when she received the sad news.

Speaking to CISA on Monday, January 26, 2004, Sr Roselida Odhiambo SOM of the Congregation's Mother House in Kakamega, said that Sr Lucy got up at around 4:00 am on Friday morning, and made futile efforts to open the door to her house, but collapsed before she could succeed.

This attracted the attention of the night watchman, who alerted the other sisters in the main convent within the same compound. They rushed there immediately, but found that Sr. Lucy had already died.

The late Sr. Lucy, a competent educationalist, had headed several schools in Kenya: Arap Moi Girls School, Shibuye (Kakamega Diocese), Nangina Girls (Bungoma Diocese), St Anne's Girls School, Lioki, (Archdiocese of Nairobi) and St Cecilia Girls School, Mautuma (Kakamega Diocese). Her last appointment was at Sengera, a government provincial school for girls in the Diocese of Kisii.

A slight state of ill heath two days preceding her death did not deter Sr Lucy from finalising her arrangements to attend a school head teachers' meeting that was scheduled for Saturday, January 24, 2004 at Nyabururu in Kisii.

During her time at Sengera, Sr Lucy has managed to steer the girls towards higher standards of academic excellence and student discipline.

She also completed several projects that had previously stalled.

Another member of the Congregation, Sr Agnes Lucy Lando SOM of Ukweli Video Productions, told CISA that the Sisters of Mary, founded in Kakamega Diocese, serve mostly in western Kenya (and in Tanzania and Uganda), in the dioceses of Kakamega, Kisumu, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay and Kericho. They run schools and health facilities among other aspects of apostolate.

In Nairobi, the Sisters of Mary manage St Anne's Girls School in Lioki (having taken over from the Precious Blood Sisters), and have a community in Adams Arcade (within Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish).

The body of Sr Lucy was taken to Christa Marian Hospital Mortuary in Kisii, and was scheduled to be transported to the Mother House in Mukumu for a service, then transferred to St Elizabeth Mukumu Mission Hospital Mortuary. A requiem Eucharistic celebration will be presided over by Bishop Philip Sulumeti of Kakamega Diocese on Saturday, at Mukumu Catholic Parish, Kakamega, followed by burial.

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