A diocese in Kenya, East Africa, has decided to name a Catholic hospital after an Indian-born nun who died in a road accident.
Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of Kakamega in Kenya announced that Itando Mission Hospital (also known as Itando Mission of Hope and Health Centre) will be renamed after Sister Sunita Conceicao Eusebia Colaco, who worked in the church-run healthcare center until she died in a road accident.
She was 51.
Presiding the funeral Mass on March 3, the prelate said the nun’s spirit and faith will remain with the people of God in the mission hospital and the community in Kenya.
“I now say that this mission of hope will take the name of Sister Sunita. Her name, her spirit, and her faith will be here to inspire us and the generations to come of the great things God can do for his servants like Sister Sunita,” said Sagwe.
According to church sources, Sister Sunita was a nurse at Itando Mission Hospital till February 23 and died in a road accident along Kenya’s Kisumu-Kakamega Road.
The nun was a member of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (FSI) of the Kenya-Uganda delegation.
On October 22, 1972, she was born in India’s Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, western India.
She was the only Indian nun working in the hospital. For the last 11 years, she has been a missionary in Kenya. At present, three other Indian nuns (from Goa) are working in other parts of Kenya.
The bishop expressed his condolences to the family members of the missionary nun and the congregation.
According to the prelate, the Indian-born nun “had left behind not just a legacy but a treasure of faith that will inspire generations.”
“Her name will remind generations to come, children, young people, women, families that there is something good we can do. Sr. Sunita came from a very far country. We did not know her; she did not know us but she came and she served and she has left us not just a legacy but a rich treasure of faith,” the bishop said.
Sagwe also appealed to the hospital staff and all those who knew the nun “to be the sign of the faith and legacy left behind by Sr. Sunita.”
Itando Mission of Hope and Health Centre is a Christian Health Association of Kenya basic health center located in Lyaduywa/Izava (Kisumu-Kakamega Road – Off Lunyere Road) Sabatia in Vihiga County.
As of 2021, the 29-bed capacity hospital is owned by the Christian Health Association of Kenya and is regulated by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council.
Since 1990, the FSI nuns have been working in Kenya.
According to the congregation sources, on May 8, 1991, two nuns, namely Sister M. Clement O’Connel and Sister M. Maximillian Bremmer, had been killed in a tragic road accident on their way back from Nairobi.
Anchored on Franciscan spirituality, the nuns carry out different ministries such as care of the HIV/AIDS infected and affected, street children project and a home for the adolescent living with the HIV, besides in education of people and parish apostolate.
Two French nuns—Sisters Veronica Cordier and Adelaide Vaast founded the FSI congregation in Scotland in 1847.
Today, the nuns work in Scotland, England, Ireland, the USA, Italy, India, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.
With inputs from ACI Africa
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