Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSJ) (Asumbi) is an indigenous congregation of women in Kenya founded by a Mill Hill priest Fr. Philip Scheffer in 1936 at a place known as Asumbi. I am one of the finalist members of this congregation. I am Sr. Anne Achieng Oyier Ondigo born and brought up in Kenya. I belong to the Luo tribe with their capital city in Kisumu near Lake Victoria, the biggest lake in Africa. Nowhere else in Kenya is the scenery as beautiful as in this area. Amazing stones on top of each other, some named the crying stones, others the first-wife’s stone (kit-mikayi) among others. Stories and myths abound behind the formation and mystery of the phenomenon of these magnificent stones. I went to a local primary school in my small village in Rapogi. Later, I joined a government secondary school. I furthered my studies at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in education in 2005, and wrote a project on the need to review the school curriculum that was psychologically and physically negatively affecting Kenyan children. Through the CTEWC scholarship for the advanced training of African women, I completed my Masters in Peace Studies and International Relations the previous year (2011) at Hekima College, a Constituent College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. My Master’s thesis was on transforming the youth culture of violence in secondary schools and the role of peace education.
I have taught in three government girls’ schools in Kenya and in 1999 I was awarded a silver spear of the nation award for the contribution and promotion of girls’ education in Kenya by the then president of The Republic of Kenya. In collaboration with other key holders in the area, we fought to rescue girls who were married off at their tender age to both young and old men alike against the girls consent. As a result, we put up girls Boarding Schools to protect the girls and assist them go through their education smoothly marrying after their successful education. The strong desire to liberate these girls put us into conflictual and tensed relationship with some of the girls’ parents. To the joy of the community and the entire nation, many of these girls are now leading figures in the country.
Now and Future Focus
I hope that my studies at the next level will further motivate and facilitate my service and desire to glorify God, sanctify self and lead other souls, to God. I am currently working as a volunteer to initiate a psycho-peace programme on pastoral prison peace apostolate. This is an initiative that will work with the victims and the victimized, the offender and the offended, the prisoner, their family and community. The idea was born as a result from a long observation of the experiences of ex-prisoners; being rejected by family members and even killed by some community members. This practice is escalating and goes unabated, unchallenged, and unstopped here in Kenya and many parts of Africa. The Programme aims at promoting peace and enhancing social harmonious relationship in and out of prison. I have the passion to join fellow women educators in forming and informing the conscience of the people towards ethical transformation for the common good of all.
Sr. Anne Celestine Achieng Oyier Ondigo FSJ