Sr Caroline Muthoni Njeru, Fsp

To live a life where God may use me, at anytime and anywhere. This is one of the principle motives that attracted me to a missionary Congregation. Who installed this idea in me? When I was about six  years old, I used to admire the ‘white’ (Europeans) sisters and priests in my parish.. I was fascinated by their capacity to speak my mother tongue . I wondered how they coped and served people did not know. I thought it felt good to be far from my home country and to serve a people whom I did not know.

One day I asked my mum why the missionaries were working so much; dedicating all their energy in serving people who are not their own.  Mum told me that it was because they loved God. I also admired the white complexion of the sisters. I actually thought I would turn into a ‘Muzungu’ (European) if I became a sister. When my elder brother heard about it he laughed and teased me mercilessly. He told me that even if I became a sister I would still remain ‘black’ (African). He went on to say that there were also ‘black’ sisters. I cannot tell where he got that idea from since we had not seen any African sister by then. In spite of my brother’s teasing, my admiration for the sisters did not fade out.

I started also to admire their veils.  I was amused at how they wore it and covered their ears without making a knot on it. One day, I asked my Mother why the sisters always covered their ears. “so that they will not hear the evil things we speak. Sisters are holy people and they live a holy life. They work for God”, she responded. Definitely that boosted my admiration for the sisters and the desire to live a holy life where God would use me at anytime, anywhere and with anybody.

When I was in Primary six, our Parish priest organized a day’s seminar for those who wanted to join religious life. I attended the seminar but more attention was granted to those who were going to high school. After class eight I joined a protestant school. My challenge during the high school education was to keep my catholic faith. The school was strictly protestant and for the few catholic to practice our faith fully was difficult. We had to join protestant service and even if a priest  came for Mass once in the blue moon , we had first to follow the school regulation of attending protestant prayers service.

During my high school education, I rarely thought about joining sisterhood. Much of my energy was spent in defending my Catholic faith.  My pride was the Apostles Creed especially the words, “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. With the Apostles Creed and the Rosary, I always kept my stand whenever my friends tried to convert me. And when they testified to me that Jesus was their personal savior and that they had left everything to follow him, the thought of leaving everything and serving God in a place far from my home would flush in my mind. Actually in the silence of my mind I would say I wish they knew that my desire is not even to marry and have my own children but to give my whole life to Christ. Despite the struggles with my protestant friends and limited Catholic teaching in the boarding school, I did not pursue less the  idea of joining religious life.

The decisive moment knocked at my door one day after form four. A friend asked me what I was thinking about my future and why I appeared calm while they were trekking everywhere and attending many interviews in search of job opportunities. I told him that I wanted to become a sister. Being a youth leader in his parish he was happy with the idea. He promised to help me find a congregation. He brought me many vocational pamphlets but most of them were on priesthood and brotherhood. Then one day the same youth leader brought me a vocational leaflet of the Daughters of St Paul. On reading it and realizing that they were missionaries working in the field of social communications. I was immediately attracted to the institute.

I told myself that I loved writing and so would feel at home there. So I began to correspond with the vocational promoter though I had not seen a Daughter of St Paul till I attended a three day retreat in their convent in Nairobi. I was thrilled by the joyful welcome accorded to us and the fact that the formators who were all ‘whites’ at that time, worked, shared the same food and sat at the same table with us at meals. The interaction was homely and encouraging.  It strengthened my desire to share the joy and the love of Christ to all in great and in small way.

This is my twenty Fifth year as a Daughter of St Paul. I have served at various capacities in a number of counties, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan. As vocation animator, web-designer, Book Centre administrator, student, community superior, etc. Through it all I have found joy in being with the people of God and members from various nations and tribes. I have interacted with and journeyed with people of all age groups in the community; from aspirants, young professed, to middle aged and even a bit senior. My motto is to be a sign of joy and hope to all. May it be in the Book Center, online or on digital forum, in print media, in propaganda/book exhibitions, in the interpersonal relationship, etc. To Know, Live and Give Christ to all is my call and our call as Daughters of St Paul.

Would you like to Join me in this ministry? The Lord is counting on you and me.

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