Left, Sisters Mumbi Kigutha and Ann Clark; Sister Mary Lou Schmersal photo. Middle, Sisters Joyce Lehman, Mumbi Kigutha, Ann Clark and Fr. Robert Schreiter, CPPS, during the Profession of Vows; right, the choir guests sing in Swahili, Sr. Mumbi’s native language; Michelle Bodine photos.
DAYTON, Ohio — In a warm and vibrant Mass and ceremony, Sister Mumbi Kigutha pronounced first vows as a Sister of the Precious Blood on July 28 in the chapel at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s motherhouse.
Precious Blood Sisters from around the U.S. attended the celebrations, along with women religious from a variety of congregations, and Sister Mumbi’s family and friends. The ceremony was also broadcast live online.
During her Gospel reflection, Sister Joyce Ann Zimmerman remarked on the courage required to follow God’s call: Like many biblical figures, Sister Mumbi — who is from Kenya — has left her homeland, family and culture to follow her call.
“In fact,” Sister Joyce Ann added, “hearing God’s call and leaving all that is familiar and comfortable is the easy part! The hard part lies in unwavering fidelity. But we are never alone on our faith journey. … All of us — Sisters, family, friends — are bid to support her, pray for her, love her, appreciate her, walk with her so her journey of discernment is honest and true and ends where only God can lead her. May her commitment today challenge each of us to be open to whatever pruning we still need to listen faithfully for God’s voice, to follow where he calls, to bless God for the divine goodness bestowed on each of us.”
Father Robert Schreiter, CPPS, presided, joined by concelebrants Fathers Sébastien Abalodo, S.M.; Bertrand Buby, S.M.; Dennis Chriszt, CPPS; Steve Dos Santos, CPPS; James Smith, CPPS; Cyriaque Sounou, SVD; and Francis Tandoh, C.S.Sp.
Sister Mumbi’s family and friends were active participants in the Mass: her friend Michelle Kiigi and her brother Henry Karongo Kigutha proclaimed readings in Swahili, and other friends and family brought up the bread and wine, as well as symbolic gifts of an unfinished clay chalice, a tree seedling and pictures of family.
Sister Mumbi grew up in Njoro, a small town in Kenya, where her mother was a professor at the local university and her father worked as a doctor. She worked for the United Nations, providing assistance to refugee communities, before becoming acquainted with the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 2008.
“I am grateful for [Congregation founder] Mother Maria Anna Brunner and all Sisters of the Precious Blood, past and present, for their faithfulness and dedicated service,” Sister Mumbi wrote in a message printed in the ceremony program. “I am especially thankful that this community welcomed me with open arms, and over the course of the past couple of years has loved me, prayed for me and contributed in countless ways to helping prepare me for the step in faith I’ve taken today.”
The Sisters of the Precious Blood were founded in Switzerland in 1834 and first came to the United States in 1844. Their motherhouse has been located at Salem Heights on Denlinger Road in Dayton since 1923. Precious Blood Sisters are active in the United States, Chile and Guatemala in a variety of ministries, including education, spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, health care, and peace, justice and care of creation.
– Story by Mary Knapke