Recently fame has come to the small town of Nyeri because of an event that took pace not more than a week ago. The beatification of a dedicated nun who worked on east African soil for most of her life. Up to 100,000 people from all over the world gathered in Nyeri to witness the ceremony at Dedan Kimathi University in which Sister Irene Stefani was declared “Blessed Irene,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reported on Saturday.
Stefani, who belonged to the Consolata Missionary Sisters, first came to Kenya in 1915 and died there in 1930 at the age of 39, according to a website dedicated to her beatification. Beatification is the first step toward possible sainthood, and it comes after official verification that a miracle happened after prayers were offered to the candidate. In the case of Stefani, a 1989 miracle in Mozambique — a country she had never visited — was attributed to her.
Millions of people watched the beatification — reportedly the first on African soil — live on television, according to the newspaper. The ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Polycarp Pengo of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were among many dignitaries who attended the event, as well as Stefani’s relatives from Italy.
This event rocked the core of Nyeri’s potential, in a good way. The county government took procedures and steps toward improving the state of Nyeri. The county government worked with Kenya Power and Lighting Company to light the town among other renovations in the run-up to the occasion that ended with Sunday’s thanksgiving service.
Similarly, all the streets have now been named and some drains repaired and others unblocked.
Roundabouts were not left out either — they have been repainted and the roads swept clean. Flowers have been planted, restoring beauty to the town that once served as the headquarters of the former Central Province.
Business is thriving, thanks to the lights that traders hope will enable them to engage in a 24-hour economy.
A really interesting statement I heard recently was that Nyeri has gone through beautification for the beatification. This event, which made the small town of Nyeri famous, was a great pick me up, especially for the tourism in Kenya. With the way things have been going lately, the reduction of tourists due to fear of Alshabab attacks have been a crazy blow to the Kenyan economy. Though, this time besides celebrating the life of a near saint we also managed to put a dent in our waging war against economic decrease.
When it comes to Catholic tours, although the shifting economy sometimes forces people to forgo usual vacations, Catholic tour companies do not seem to feel the impact as much. Some even say that even at the height of recession worldwide, catholic tours seem to have an uptick in business. If this is true then this may be just what Kenya needs to get the world to come flooding back, for it seems when people are searching for God or people who live their lives to follow in His footsteps –such as the late sister Irene Stephanie- they are not as afraid.
Here are 10 places to visit in Nyeri apart from the site of the beautification https://potentash.com/10-places-to-visit-in-nyeri/
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.