Kenya roots for pilgrimage tourism

Kenya is set for pilgrimage tourism with Italy following discussion of possible twining of Anfo Province, the home to the late Sr. Irene Stefani “Nyaatha” and Nyeri County where she was beatified in May this year.

On 18/06/2015East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Mrs. Phyllis Kandie, visited the Mayor of Anfo Mr. Mabellini Gianpietro, where the recently beatified “Nyaatha” was born, and presented a portrait of Mt. Kenya to represent  a gift from the people of Kenya.

Kandie said the recent ceremony of beatification of “Nyaatha” has presented an opportunity for Kenya to host pilgrims and noted that linkages between Nyaatha’s motherland and Nyeri where she died will enhance pilgrimage tourism.

The beatification of Sr. Irene Stefani was done on 23rd May 2015 in Nyeri town and brought together thousands of pilgrims from across the world.The Venerable Sr. Irene Stefani (in baptism Aurelia Jacoba Mercede) was born on the 22nd August 1891 at Anfo (Brescia) – Italy.

He travelled to Kenya in 1915 where she worked as a nurse at British military hospitals during WW1. Following the war, she settled in Nyeri, where she became known as “Nyaatha”, meaning “mother of mercy” in the Kikuyu language, where she worked until she died in 1930 at the age of 39.

“We shall be discussing with the County of Nyeri for the possibility of twining the two areas as a launching pad of pilgrimage tourism not only for the two countries but for other pilgrims across the globe,” said Kandie.

Over 20 million visitors are expected to attend EXPO Milano 2015, which is providing Kenya with a significant platform to promote many of the unique resources that makes the country such a compelling destination for tourism, trade and investment.

Anfo mayor praised Sister Irene’s work of mercy and compassion that have made her an icon in Kenya and Italy and pledged to work with Kenya in strengthening her legacy. Anfo is located in the beautiful Brescia Mountains with about 500 residents.

“The residents of Anfo are honoured to receive this gift from the people of Kenya on Sister Irene’s behalf. To know that someone from our small town has had such an impact on a country half way around the word is truly special. This beautiful picture of Mount Kenya will serve as reminder to us all that each and everyone one of us can and should try to make the world a better place.”  Said the Mayor.

Kandie on her part praised Sr. Irene’s love and compassion for people, especially the people of Kenya. “That is why we felt it was important to recognize all that she had done for our country through this gift as a symbol of our gratitude and eternal friendship to the town and people of Anfo” Kandie added.