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“The Novitiate is the unique experience of initiation into the religious life of the Brothers,” as written in the Rule of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The ceremony of the Beginning of the Novitiate and Habit Taking (6th February, 2021.) started with the Mass at exactly 11:00am with the Chief celebrant Rev. Fr. Henry I. Ugese CSSR.  The Novitiate Director, Br. Anthony Githahi welcomed all those present in his opening speech during the Mass.

“This is a journey, a journey to see, to listen and to touch”, said Rev. Fr. Henry in his reflection. He further stressed on the importance of the Star. The Star of faith which makes the Lasallian family unique, as we follow the star who is Christ the teacher which is our mission.

Brother Visitor, shared his experience to the Novices. While speaking during the Eucharistic celebration, He thanked God for keeping all of us safe from the Corona Virus and he thanked the Formators for their good work. He encouraged the Novices on the authenticity of this journey, that the desire should be a conviction rather than mere feelings. This he said, at ‘De La Salle International Novitiate in Nairobi’ marking the start of the canonical year for the eleven first year novices, namely: Andre Julio, Auxilio Alfredo, Benefica Jorge, Tomas Alexandre, and Eurelio Segura, from Mozambique, Polite Ncube from Zimbabwe, Jude Oguname and Samuel Akadu from Nigeria, Justus Matata, Ronald Malala, and Zacchaeus Nderitu from Kenya. The habit taking of the ten second year novices. The ten second year novices namely: Abraham Woldemariam, Ademe Alemayehu, Dawit Yadesa, Admasu Yohannes, Eyob Gebriel, Gosse Hirpo from Ethopia, Carolino Azevedo, Januario Felizardo, Mossito Molipiha from Mozambique and  Emmanuel Agba from Nigeria.

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The Catholic tradition from time immemorial has promoted and supported the establishment of Religious Congregation who “follow Christ more closely as He prays, announces the Kingdom of God, performs good works for people, shares His life with them in the world, and yet always does the will of the Father.” (Can. 577).  Many members of these Religious Communities wear habits as an outward sign of their consecration to God and their belonging to a particular Religious Institute in the Church. The Canon Law makes it explicitly clear that “Religious are to wear the habit of the Institute made according to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a testimony of poverty.” (Can. 669, ⸹1).

Though wearing of religious habit is a physical sign, and as the saying goes, “Habit does not make a Monk”, yet its importance and significant cannot be over-looked. Habits have developed over the centuries, but have always been used as an outward sign of a religious’ consecration to God, a sign of being set apart, and a sign of the vow of poverty.

Recognizing the need for strong, principled, and visionary African leadership, the former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hon. Meles Zenawi, in 1997 asked Pope St. John Paul II to establish a Catholic University in Ethiopia to address the acute needs throughout Ethiopia, with a particular focus on health and medical services.

St. Joseph’s School – Keren

On October 19,1949, while Eritrea was still under the British Administration and before federated with Ethiopia, the ground breaking for the construction of St. Joseph’s school took place. A member of De La Salle Brothers from the Province of Rome, Brother Adriano Clemente, was the dreamer and founder of St. Joseph’s school Keren.

A year later, in April 1950, the first class for boys began with 150 students. The instruction was the responsibility of two Brothers and two lay teachers. In the Academic year 1960/61 the level of classes was increased to Grade 5 & 6 and advanced up to Grade 8 in 1962/63. After independence, and in the academic year 1993/94, St. Joseph commenced the high school level.

I went to South Africa for the funeral service of our beloved Brother Thomas Sheehy and after the funeral, I got time to visit our two schools; arguably some of the best ran schools in South Africa (De La Salle Holy Cross College and La Salle College). I was overwhelmed with different activities going on in the schools; cleanses and tidiness of the schools and students, the well-coordinated school management system, not to mention the dedicated staff with the fragrance of good working spirit which existed in the schools.