African sisters mark launch of book about work of women religious

March 8, 2019

Gathered for their annual meeting in Nairobi, alumnae of programs of the African Sisters Education Collaborative, or ASEC, also had a chance Feb. 2 to celebrate the launch of a book that chronicles the work of women religious involved in improving the lives of others and creating positive change in African nations.

Four sisters who were contributor-authors of the book Transformative Partnerships: The Role of Agencies, Church and Religious Institutes in Promoting Strategic, Social and Sustainable Change in Africa spoke during the meeting of about 150 of alumnae of African Sisters Education Collaborative’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative and Higher Education for Sisters in Africa programs. The sisters met starting the evening of Jan. 31 and ending Feb. 3 to take refresher courses, network and share experiences.

This year, the highlight of the alumnae meeting was the book launch. In addition to the sister-authors who spoke, Sr. Jane Wakahiu, of the Little Sisters of St. Francis and editor of the book, addressed the group via Skype. Wakahiu, who serves as the director of the Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Conrad Hilton Foundation, said the book resulted from observing women religious who, grounded in spiritual witness and living the Gospel values, tirelessly provide essential services in remote regions of Africa. (The Hilton Foundation also funds Global Sisters Report.)

Wakahiu said transformative partnerships provide the sisters with an opportunity to share various stories on religious life as lived in Africa. “It is important for us to tell our own stories and experiences as a way to share our own narrative,” she said. “We have often allowed western world writers to tell stories of our lived experiences in religious life; it is important we tell these stories ourselves on the perceptions and experiences as we live the life.” She told the sisters gathered that “our narrative must be heard — we have chosen to live this life — how do we perceive and live it? Religious life as understood and lived by women in Africa!”

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