"Blessed" Suor Irene Stefani MC (Consolata Missionary Sister)

Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree for the beatification of
Sr. Irene Stefani, Consolata Missionary

(tomorrow, the miracle attributed to her intercession)

Anfo (Italy), August 22  1891
 Ghekondi (Kenya), October 31  1930

A mother “all compassion and love” this is the name given to sister Irene by the African people. A phrase which embraces a whole life of total dedica­tion to God in the path of generous service and evangelization.

In 1911, at the age of twenty, Irene chose to become a missionary among the Consolata Sisters, an Institute founded in Turin (Italy) just a year before by blessed Joseph Allamano.

On January 29, 1914 in Turin while taking her vows she expressed in few lines the program of her life:
“Only Jesus.
Totally with Jesus...
Totality belonging to Jesus...
Totally for Jesus.
Do this and you will live!”

Sister Irene reached Kenya in January 1915. There she lived the life of the early pioneers: in great poverty, hard labor and isolation. Her generous heart knew no bounds in giving herself in love full of compassion and in proclaiming to all her greatest treasure: the Good News that Jesus, the Son of God, was their Savior.

A few months after her arrival in Kenya, the first world war reached the English an German colonial territories of East Africa. Sister Irene offered to be among the Red Cross Volunteers involved in a hard and stressful work of mercy; nursing among the “carriers” in make­shift military hospitals, where thousands were crowded. For three years patiently and with heroic dedication she worked to alleviate with love and compassion, the tragedy of a people taken forcibly neglected in an almost inhuman situation.

After the war we find Sister Irene back among her beloved Akikuyu, directly involved in pastoral work of evangelization, in nursing, teaching, visiting the families, always ready to welcome, to help, to encourage, to guide gently the youth so that they might live fully their newly found faith. Everywhere she worked in a so charitable way that people named her “Nyaatha” which means “the Merciful Mother”. 

The year 1930 was a particularly difficult one for the Institute and the Mission.

Sister Irene well aware of this, asked her superior to be allowed to sacrifice her “poor, useless life for the mission”. “I can't say no - said Mother Ferdinanda - but let us do the will of God, nothing but the will of God”.

Sister Irene had been granted the great permission, but she did not know that God would respond at once and would soon come to take her. Just two weeks later she died, victim of her heroic charity, of an illness contracted while caring far the plague-stricken people of the villages. 

It was October 31, 1930.

Up and down in the Kikuyu hills the news spread in a flash and was received with a mourning that had never been heard before, because now the “Nyaatha - the mother all compassion and love” was dead.

Her mortal remains lie now in the Consolata Church in Nyeri.

More than fifty years after her death, her memory is very much alive.

The Church of Nyeri (Kenya) and the Church of Turin (Italy) are asking that the heroic virtues of sister Irene be recognized to the glory of God and the good of all.

Sister Irene continues even today her missionary journey of compassion and love, by obtaining many favours.

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