St Marie Eugenie Community at Chekereni became a reality on the 1st day of the New Year as Sr Constancia Maria, the Provincial of East Africa officially sent off the sisters to be the foundation stones of this new mission. This was the culmination of the Provincial Assembly as we lived the grace as a province of witnessing our six sisters : Sr Scholastica Maria, Sr Anna Emmanuel, Sr Lucy Theresia Diu, Sr Cecilia Ng’ae, Sr Patricia Immaculata and Sr. Sarah Emmanuel receive their new mission. During Vespers, Sr Costa called the sisters one by one, giving each a lighted candle, a sign that Christ will be their light in the mission the Congregation was entrusting to them. Then an elder from each of the 7 other communities of the Province, came forward and prayed over the sisters.
The following day, all the sisters of the Province went in 3 coaches to visit the site. The buildings were still under construction yet the school was expected to open on the 17th just 2 weeks away. This allowed the whole Province to share in the weight of founding a new mission that our sisters were undertaking. That evening during recreation we had a surprise ‘housewarming’ for the new community as each community brought household items to help them set up their new home. Our Sisters were delighted with all they received : plates, glasses and spoons, bed sheets, towels, blankets and even a flat iron, a missal, hymn books, etc…basic, practical things but given with much love and concern.
Happy first students of St. Marie Eugenie Secondary Girls’ School.
At that time, the Sisters were worried whether we would have enough students to start the school year. Normally the interviews and entrance exams for secondary schools take place from September to October and registration completed by 1st January so the students are ready to report for school the following week. Thus far, we had only 16 students registered. This was a great discouragement. We targeted at least one class of 40 students to begin with. The late enrolment was due to the delay of the release of the school registration number by the Ministry of Education. Without any qualms but full of faith, we encouraged one another sure that St Marie Eugenie would not let us down. We sent application forms as soon as we got the registration number for the school and an entrance exam was announced for the 5th January. We expected a turnout of about 40 students. To our surprise there were a total of 94 students who turned up for the entrance exam. We could only accommodate 64 students. They had to pass 3 exams with an average of 50% to qualify. With the help of the Sisters from Moshi town and Sangiti, we marked the exams on the spot and released the results by 5 p.m. The parents and students were very anxious of being able to enter St Marie Eugenie Secondary school. The Headmistress, Sr. Lucy Theresia read the names of the students who had passed the exams. When she read the name of the last student and folded the master sheet, pandemonium broke loose ! There were cries and screams as some of the children who didn’t make it began to faint. The ones who had secured a place were rejoicing and thanking God.
It was already 6 p.m. but the sisters were still consoling the failing students and their parents who were also in tears. Thus were the first steps of a mission that would begin to take its place in responding to the needs of our society today.
Our committed lay faculty members