Father Malcolm asked me to say something about the beginnings of our missionary experience as Don Orione family here in Kenya. But before other words, I wish to say thank you to our sisters, since they are the one who first implanted the name of Don Orione in our reality here in Kenya, in the years 1979.
We had contact with the Bishops of Meru and Murang'a through our sisters in the years 80. However, we felt the interest to start when our sisters invited first Fr Malcolm in 1990 then in 1992 myself to preach retreats and give seminars to their postulants. They also told us that there were some young men who desired to join our Congregation since they felt attracted to the charism of Don Orione. Two of those young men are here today, Priest in our Religious family. I mean, Father Raphael and Father Peter. We met those young people on our visit once or more per year. As we were not yet present here in Kenya, we sent them first to be with the Cottolengo for religious experience and then in Ivory Coast for the Noviciate.
In the year 1996, finish my time in Dublin, I was asked to look for a place in Kenya for our Congregation. Looking and asking here and there, we will find the house of a gentleman, Mr. Erastus Kabugua, in the quarter of Langata South Road, in Karen. It will be the beginning of a nice and lovely missionary experience, which later on will be carry on by Father José Martin in March 1997. We will have the visit of our Superior General Father Simeonato the same year. Then Father Marek Krakus, Father Paulo Damin, Father Malcolm Dyer, Father Raymond Ahoua (now Bishop Raymond), will join us.
In the year 1998, will be the beginning of our Parish of Kaburugi and one year later, in 1999, in September, the Bishop of Ngong will invite us for the Parish of Kandisi.
Let me end these remarks by saying thank you first of all to God Almighty, for it is His grace that helped from the origin and development of our activities here in the name of our Congregation. Also thanks to the Virgin Mary and Saint Luigi Orione for their constant presence and intercession. I trust that even today our founder (Don Luigi Orione) is happy in heaven for this celebration here on earth for the work of his children. Moreover, special thanks to His Excellency Bishop Charles Balvo, Ambassador of the Holy Father for the blessing of this chapel in this community where our students prepare to become priests and brothers of tomorrow.
Fr. Giuseppe Vallauri
Achiviste of the Congregation and
Secretary of the Delegation Our Lady of the Church.
(Parts of this text were in Kiswahili, the translation is the work of the editors of this blog).