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Pilgrims start arriving for Nyaatha beatification

By Job Weru | May 4th 2015
A section of 600 choir members drawn from 48 Parishes within the Nyeri Archdiocese rehearse at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral Catholic Church on Saturday ahead of the Beatification ceremony of Sis Irene Stefani. [PHOTO; KIBATA KIHU/STANDARD]

With less than 21 days to the beatification of Sister Irene Nyaatha Stefani, foreign pilgrims have started trooping in the country in their numbers.

At the same time, the Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese has announced that it has reserved five institutions for residence of the clergy and missionaries attending the event.

The event co-ordinator, Peter Githinji, said among the facilities is the Church's hostels near Dedan Kimathi University, which has been reserved for more than 200 Consolata Missionaries sisters.

"We have reserved all the facilities based on the bookings received from various congregations who will attend the beatification event," said Father Githinji.

Other facilities reserved are Caritas grounds, Pastoral Centre at Mathari complex, Christ the King Major Seminary in Njeng'u and the Catholic Secretariat grounds in Nyeri town.

Githinji said the Church is still receiving more bookings from America, Italy, Philippines, Tanzania and other countries.

A source at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology told The Standard that students who were residing at the church-owned hostel had already been ordered to vacate.

"They left about a month ago and sought accommodation in other areas. The hostels accommodated about 500 students and they are at the moment vacant," said the source.

On Friday, an American couple arrived in Nyeri ready for the beatification process.

Robin Kaleta and wife, Robin, who are residents of Michigan spent their Saturday and Sunday at the Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese.

The couple said they will paint Mathari Central Chapel, where the relics of Sister Nyaatha are preserved.

"We have come purposely for the beatification and we are expecting more people to stream to Kenya from the US," said Mr Kaleta.

Ms Robin said they got to know of the beautification from the Consolata sisters living in Kansas City.

The beatification of Sister Nyaatha will take place between May 22 and 24 this year, and about 300,000 people are expected to attend the event.

Beatification is the recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person entrance into heaven and their capacity to intercede for others who pray in their name.

Aurelia Mercede Stefani was born in 22/08/1891. She joined Consolata Missionary sisters in 1911 and in 1915 was sent to Kenya by Blessed Joseph Allomano.

She served in Nyeri as a nurse and was nicknamed by the locals "Nyaatha" Nyina Wa Tha (merciful person). In 1930 she contracted a disease in line of service which she succumbed to in Gikondi Mukurweini.

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