Hundreds of Catholic faithful remember 'Blessed Nyaatha'

Blessed Stefani

Nyeri Catholic postulator Peter Githinji  stands in front of a sarcophagus of Blessed Irene Stefani at Our Lady of Consolata cathedral in Nyeri on October 27, 2022. Her memorial is being held today.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Hundreds of Catholic faithful on Saturday attended the memorial mass for Blessed Irene Stefani Nyaatha at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town.

The annual memorial mass was slated for October 31 but was re-scheduled to allow more faithful and clergy to attend.

Father Peter Githinji – who is the postulator in charge of causes of saints, beatification and canonization at the Archdiocese of Nyeri – told Nation that they expected to host Consolata Sisters, Consolata Brothers, faithful, priests and other members of the Catholic clergy from across the world.

Blessed Nyaatha was from the Consolata Sisters and started her missionary work in 1915 at Gikondi village in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County. This is where she earned the name Nyaatha, which means “merciful” in Kikuyu.

The clergy, led by Archbishop Anthony Muheria, held a procession with Blessed Nyaatha’s relics (remains of human anatomy) from the church’s sacristy (the room where the priest prepares for the celebration of Mass) to the altar for the commencement of the mass.

“We expect the cathedral to be full and that is why we have set up a tent outside so as to ensure we accommodate all congregants. Archbishop Muheria will be assisted by deaneries from Mukurwe-ini and Othaya in leading the special mass,” Fr Githinji said.  

“At the entrance of the cathedral, we have set up an information desk that will enable the thousands of faithful to acquire more information about Blessed Nyaatha. We welcome everyone to attend,” he added.

Blessed Nyaatha died in 1930 at the age of 39 after contracting an illness from one of the patients she was treating.

The Church’s world headquarters, Rome, commenced documenting her life’s work in 1985 and her remains were preserved in a brown marble sarcophagus and installed on the wall next to the exit of Mathari Central Chapel in Nyeri.

Beatification of Blessed Nyaatha took place on May 23, 2015. It was presided over by Papal delegate Polycarp Cardinal Pengo from Tanzania.

Some of her remains (relics) were moved to Our Lady of Divine Providence Catholic Parish in Gikondi where they were placed in a shiny golden vessel.

Other remains were interred at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town while some were ferried to Vatican City in Rome.