Left, from left, Sisters Mumbi Kigutha, LaKesha Church and Joyce Lehman sing during the Rite of Entrance into the Novitiate. Second, Sister Joyce Lehman, president of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, speaks during the Rite of Initiation into the Novitiate; Sister Mary Lou Schmersal photos. Third, from left, Sisters Mumbi and LaKesha pray during the ceremony and Sister Joyce offers them a blessing. Right, Sisters LaKesha and Mumbi with initial formation director Sister Joyce Langhals. Dave Eck photos
The prophet Jeremiah tells us God has a plan for each human being, providing a hopeful future for each person. When we call, God is there, providing the resources we need to live our lives.
The dance of God calling us and our response to that call was the message Sister Joyce Lehman brought to the Sisters of the Precious Blood on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross as they welcomed Sisters LaKesha Church and Mumbi Kigutha to the novitiate during a 40-minute Rite of Initiation into Religious Life on Sept. 14 at Salem Heights in Dayton. Precious Blood Sisters and the assistant novice director from the Sisters of Notre Dame in Covington, Ky. attended the celebration.
The novitiate incorporates a canonical year in which Sisters LaKesha and Mumbi will come to a deeper appreciation of God in their lives. They will have the opportunity to better acquaint themselves with religious life and the women they are choosing and the history of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. They will live in the congregation’s novitiate community and participate in all aspects of community life. The second year, the apostolic year, will be spent in ministry.
“The years in the novitiate help you let go of the dance that you have danced before and learn the dance that God may be calling you to now. It is a time of continued and deepened discernment,” said Sister Joyce, president of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. “Tonight you formally enter the circle dance of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. Know that our love, our support and our encouragement are with you.”
As novices they wear the congregational insignia and hold the title “Sister.” Though not professed, they will live poverty, chastity and obedience in community as they further discern their call to religious life.
Sister LaKesha is from Lorain, Ohio, and Sister Mumbi is a native of Kenya.
Sisters Mary Lou Schmersal, Judy Niday and Nadine Kaschalk spoke on behalf of Sister LaKesha. They explained that she was comfortable with the Sisters of the Precious Blood from the day she first met them. She combines her ministry and community with fidelity to prayer, and that her choices are driven by her prayer life.
“Through the years, music, prayer, scripture, worship have been important elements as she has come to know Jesus,” Sister Mary Lou said. “Now she asks to take yet another step in faith into the mystery of God in her life.”
Sisters Donna Liette and Della Meyer spoke to Sister Mumbi’s readiness to enter the Congregation. They shared her love of Precious Blood spirituality, her appreciation of the Eucharist and her support of those in need.
“Whether in Dayton, Chicago or Kenya, Sister Mumbi’s heart is with the marginalized, those who are far off, outside the gates, and those who feel they are unworthy of redemption and God’s love,” Sister Donna said. “She wants to become her best self so as to be a better minister in her future walk as a Sister of the Precious Blood and to learn to live this spirituality to the fullest.”
Sisters LaKesha and Mumbi join Sister Bela Mis in the novitiate. Sister Bela entered the community last January.
Story by Dave Eck