Sr. Jane Wakahiu is a member of the Institute of the Little Sisters of St. Francis, Kenya, and director of the Catholic Sisters Program for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. She is the former director of the African Catholic Sisters Education Collaborative, which conducts educational activities in nine African countries, including Nigeria and South Sudan, where the ravages of war and other human tragedies continue to significantly affect millions of people. Wakahiu also has taught and administrated at a girls’ high school, facilitated leadership workshops for teachers, and served in leadership of the Catholic Women Association in Kenya.
In the midst of human suffering, spirituality seems to be the best means to cope with trauma and difficult situations. It is a dynamic and fundamental way for us to connect with something bigger than ourselves, helping us to have meaning and purpose in life, as well as hope for a tomorrow.
Editor's note: The following is an adaptation of the second chapter — "Foundation of Religious Institutes and Impact of Technology Innovation on Sisters in Africa: A Sociocultural Approach" — of the new book, Voices of Courage: Historical, Sociocultural and Educational Journeys Of Women Religious in East end Central Africa, edited by Sr. Jane Wakahiu
Read about the book's conception, research and purposes in Handing the pen to African sisters.
Catholic sisters provide healing, care, hope, courage and education in Africa and improve the quality of life for those suffering hardships in rural communities. A visit to the Maria Adelaide Center threw into sharp relief the shared story of countless rural girls who are liberated from cultural practices that hold them captive bodily, psychologically and socially.
I was born in Nairobi but was raised in a little-known rural village of Kiptangwanyi in Nakuru County, Kenya. Though relatively poor, the environment shaped the person I am today. Several people have influenced my life in significant ways, including my family, teachers and peers, but I especially cherish the impact my parents had on me. You never know where the circumstances of life will lead you.