Uganda’s oldest nun dies at 105

Saturday September 07 2019

Born on October 10, 1913, Sr Nambi, was to celebrate her 106th birth day next month. PHOTO BY GERTRUDE MUTYABA

A sombre mood engulfed Daughters of Mary (Bannabikira) Sisters, in Bwanda, Kalungu District, on Friday evening as mourners gathered to give Uganda’s oldest nun a befitting send off.

The mood was heightened as the Rev Sr Boneventura Rosa Nambi’s body was lowered into the grave, bringing to an end the life of a nun who served God until her death.

Born on October 10, 1913, Sr Nambi, was to celebrate her 106th birth day next month.
During the requiem Mass at Bwanda Convent on Friday, sorrow and grief was evidently written on the faces of relatives, nuns and priests.

Masaka Diocesan Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa, who led the Mass, described the deceased as a prayerful, humble, jolly and nice servant of God.
“Sr Nambi was not selfish, she would share the good and bad with her fellow nuns and pupils. Above all, she has been committed to God and there is no doubt that she went straight to heaven,” Bishop Kaggwa said. He added that Sr Nambi is among the few nuns who understood why they committed to serve God which he attributed to the good foundation she got from her parents. He also wondered whether the deceased was speaking directly to God because she even knew that her time to die had come.

The Rev Sr Noeline Namusoke, the congregation’s presiding superior general, said Sr Nambi succumbed to stroke which had weakened her body.
Before she breathed her last on Thursday, Sr Namusoke said, a group of Bannabiikira Sisters visited Sr Nambi and she welcomed them well but asked why they were many and what they wanted.
“They [nuns] replied that they had come to see her, then she asked them to leave her go, one of them asked her where she was going and then she replied that I am going to meet Jesus,” she said.

Sr Namusoke told mourners that the deceased had asked her during her 104th birthday celebrations to inform her relatives to strengthen their faith because most of them are weak.
“She even told me that I should tell nuns in the convent that they ought to love God with all their hearts so they keep closer to Him,” Sr Namusoke said


Brother Lukanga Lwanga, who represented Katende Catholic Parish, Mpigi District, where Sr Nambi hailed from, applauded the deceased for her commitment towards serving the Church.
Daughters of Mary (Bannabikira) Sisters operate a permanent retirement home specifically reserved for aging nuns who affiliate to this pontifical congregation.

In her earlier interview with Daily Monitor, Nambi said while at the age of 10, her mother told her about her dream of being a nun. “A dream she was unable to fulfill. And thus, thinking of me as a suitable candidate, she asked me to take up the vocation,” Sr Nambi said in January.
At her mother’s request Nambi was taken to Villa Maria where she was later recommended by the nuns to join the Bwanda convent.
On her 18th birthday, Nambi was enrolled in what was referred to as a school at Bwanda. As requested by her mother, in 1934 after her training, Sr Nambi wrote a letter requesting to join the novitiate. When she was admitted as a novice, her parents went with her to Bwanda Convent.

For four years, she trained in catechism which is the major calling for Daughters of Mary. Sr Nambi was later taken to Katigondo Seminary, Bukalasa and then Villa Maria before her ordination in 1939.

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