Kenya: Emulate Blessed Maria Carola Cecchin’s missionary zeal, says Cardinal Kambanda.
Sister Maria Carola Cecchin represents the holiness of many missionaries who “accepted to endure all sorts of sacrifices and risks to bring God’s salvation to us.” This was said by Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, archbishop of Kigali, Rwanda, during the beatification of the religious born in 1877 in Cittadella (Padua) who died in 1925 aboard a ship on the Red Sea while returning to Italy from Kenya.
The beatification rite was presided over by Cardinal Kambanda, who represented Pope Francis at Kinoru Stadium in Kenya’s Diocese of Meru on Saturday, 5 November morning.
Absolute trust in God
Cardinal Kambanda noted that Sr Cecchin, a member of the congregation founded by St. Joseph Cottolengo, had “given her life in Kenya” for her service to God’s people in the Diocese of Meru for two decades. She performed “the best act of charity that can be done to make the love of Christ known to others,” the Archbishop of Kigali pointed out.
In fact, “she spent her missionary life” so that the kingdom of God would spread in Kenya and “the name of God would be praised in this land.”
Cardinal Kambanda recalled that the religious sister had “absolute trust in God’s loving care and came to this land to be a witness of that, so that we too may acquire the same faith and trust that frees us from all fear and calls us to faithfulness to God,” he said.
Cardinal Kambanda invited the faithful to see in Blessed Cecchin an example of missionary zeal worthy of emulation. “Sister Mary Carola,” he said, “gave us an example to follow during our lives. It is up to us to carry on this missionary life in today’s world, which needs it the most.
Entirely dedicated to the poor
The Archbishop of Kigali then remarked that Sister Cecchin “spent her life in this land giving great honour to God and the Church.” She loved “so much the Lord that she desired to become his hands, to reach out to the poor. She trusted him so much that she accepted all the hardships and trials life had in store for her.” And she made her own “that evangelical love that urges one not to seek one’s own gain, but to give oneself completely, forgetting oneself in order to embrace the good of others. Sister Cecchin lived just like that: “all for God, entirely dedicated to the poor.”
Selfless love in families
The family is one of the “institutions where the example of Blessed Maria Carola can be applied,” the Cardinal noted. He warned of the need to rid families of what he called “false love” and called, on the contrary, for true and selfless love in families.
Among those present at the celebration were the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Archbishop Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, Bishop of Meru, Salesius Mugambi, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Esmeraldas in Ecuador, Cottolengo religious Antonio Crameri, the Superior General of the Little House of Divine Providence, Father Carmine Arice, the Superior General of the Cottolengo religious women, Sister Elda Pezzuto. Also present was the Italian ambassador to Kenya, Roberto Natali.
Sister Maria Carola’s great-grandnephew, Alessandro Cecchin, and a delegation from Cittadella, the newly beatified’s home town, also attended the beatification ceremony.
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