The Diocese of Namibia of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa made history recently when it admitted its first celibate nuns during a ceremony held at the Onekwaya West Mission Station in the Ohangwena Region.
The Church's secretary and treasurer, Father Lukas Kaluwapa Katenda, said three young Namibian women took their vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience as Sisters of the Order of the Good Samaritan, a new religious order in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
"This is the first in the history of the Anglican Church in Namibia," he said. The three nuns are Julia Shiluwa from Odibo; Anna Shikongo from Onamutai and Loide Kadhila from Okathitu.
According to Katenda the initiative to establish a new religious order of nuns came about when a sister from Lesotho paid an exploratory visit to Namibia during 2003 and again during 2005.
She got some positive response from young girls whom she sent to the main convent in Zululand for observation as postulants,” he said. The girls started their novitiate training, which Katenda said took longer than usual because assurances in terms of emotional and spiritual stability were needed before the Synod of Bishops could give its approval. The approval was granted in September this year.
The Onekwaya West ceremony was conducted by Bishop Nathaniel Ndaxuma Nakuatumbah, assisted by Father Katenda. Katenda said the worldwide Anglican Communion has its roots in the Church of England, which in turn grew from the early church traditions of the Western Church under the Roman Pope.
He said although King Henry VIII abolished religious orders when he declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England, the Catholic revival within the church and the Oxford Movement led to the re-establishment of the religious orders during the 19th century.