The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross held added significance for the Sisters of the Precious Blood as they welcomed LaKesha Church and Mumbi Kigutha to the novitiate during a prayerful Rite of Initiation into Religious Life at the Congregation’s central house in Dayton.
The 2-year 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 the women they are choosing and the history of the congregation. The second year will be spent in ministry. They will live in the congregation’s novitiate community and participate in all aspects of community life.
“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 Lehman, 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 Loraine, Ohio, and Sister Mumbi is a native of Kenya.
Sisters Mary Lou Schmersal, Judy Niday and Nadine Kaschalk spoke of Sister LaKesha’s readiness to enter the congregation. They explained that she was comfortable with the Sisters of the Precious Blood from the day she first met them. Sister LaKesha 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 on behalf of Sister Mumbi. 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 she recognizes as feeling 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 and photo by Dave Eck