Sr. Rainer hit the ground running after completing her Laudato Si’ Animators course.
My name is Sr. Rainer Boniface, and I am a Loreto Sister. I am Tanzanian, but I live and work at Loreto Convent in Mombasa, Kenya. I am a procurement officer by profession. Before I came to Mombasa, I was working in Nairobi, at Loreto Convent in Msongari, Kenya. I go to church at Holy Ghost Cathedral in Mombasa.
Outside of my professional work, I teach catechism to children aged 8 to 12. I love taking care of people’s faith, so I do catechism passionately. I also take care of my surroundings and try to reach out to people so that together we may care for our common home.
My first encounter with the Laudato Si’ Movement was through Fr. Benedict Ayodi, OFM Cap and program manager for Laudato Si’ Movement in Africa. I met him at their friary in Nairobi during the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, as I was invited for Mass and celebration in 2020.
He invited me to join their St. Jude Laudato Si’ Circle meeting to learn more about the movement and what they do. I joined their November meeting, where they were discussing the November encounter in preparation for Christmas.
I was moved by the discussions that took place and one member of the circle gave me Laudato Si’ to read. This is how I developed my passion for care for our common home and joined the movement’s activities without hesitation.
I enrolled in the Laudato Si’ Animators course in the year 2021 in order to get experience and knowledge. I graduated and received my certificate after finishing my capstone project: the creation of a Laudato Si’ garden.
The garden was officially opened by Fr. Ayodi in 2021. It was called the Centenary Garden to mark 100 years of God’s faithfulness for the Loreto sisters’ existence in the Eastern African Province.
After my graduation as a Laudato Si’ Animator, I felt I was fully empowered and started my own Circle: St. Francis Circle. I am the circle Leader, assisted by Sr. Angeline Wanzagi IBVM.
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My aim when starting this circle was to reach out to religious men and women who did not know about this movement. As a result, in the circle we have Jesuit scholastics, an OFM Conv. brother, a Marianist brother, a Franciscan sister, one lay woman, a teacher, an environmental activist, and three fellow Loreto sisters.
We are all busy people with different careers, but we manage to do quite a bit. We offer an outdoor Mass to meet and pray for creation, reflect on monthly encounters, plant trees, care for our community gardens, care for animals, and participate in various Laudato Si’ Movement activities in Africa.
So far, four members of this circle have enrolled in the Laudato Si’ Animators course and two have graduated. I hope to continue motivating more members to enroll and get more empowered.
One of our initiatives consisted of getting people to sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition. With the help of St. Francis circle members, as a team we were able to collect over 4,000 signatures from Africa.
We divided ourselves to collect signatures from secondary schools, universities and churches. We had connections with our religious sisters working in Ghana, who got involved and also helped us gather more signatures.
We also collected a few from Tanzania through some family connections. We all have a passion for the environment, and we all agreed that we are suffering from the climate crisis, so we united together for a better tomorrow. That was our motive as we carried out these activities.
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Watch Sr. Rainer’s video about how Easter is celebrated in her region: