Who We Are
Bishop Henry Gogarty, started a congregation of women in Kilimanjaro, dedicated to Mary Immaculate. His vision was, the members of the Congregation should live with their hearts as pure as the snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, in the model of Mary Immaculate, whose heart is absolutely pure. The CDNK Sisters are inspired by these words from Mother Teresa of Calcultta: “Be humble like Mary so that you can be holy like Jesus.”
Thus, came the origin of the name of our Congregation: “The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro.” In Latin, “Congregatio Dominae Nostrae de Kilimanjaro.” In short, “C.D.N.K.”
This was the fulfillment of his desire to found a Congregation for the service of all people in that area and beyond.
Talking to the consecrated men and women, Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of keeping the commitments, and emulate the Blessed Mary who was the first and perfect disciple of Christ, through her total surrender to the Will of God. The Pope observes; “If consecrated men and women lack words that bless God and other people, if they luck joy, if their enthusiasm fails, if their fraternal life is only a chore, it is not the fault of someone or something else. It is because our arms no longer embrace Jesus” (Fer. 2, 2022). While the Pope’s guidelines are perfect and true, proactively, we the religious wholeheartedly accept and aknowlege his instructions. We are, therefore, doing all we can to live up to this call in order to effectively work for the evangelization of God’s people.
The consecrated life is a permanent way of life, recognized by the Church, entered freely in response to the call of the Father to the perfection of love, and characterized by the making of public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Answering to this call, a consecrated person humbly becomes a co-worker in the mission of Christ. “Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to thy word'” (Luke 1:38). Being the patroness of our congregation, Mary is the true model of our consecrated life. All the CDNK sisters relay on her intersession and strive to follow her footsteps in virtuous life and discipleship.
As Pope Francis, Mary is not only the bridge joining us to God; she is more. She is the road that God travelled in order to reach us (through incarnation), and the road that we must travel in order to reach Jesus, our destination. “Through Mary, we encounter God the way he wants us to: in tender love, in intimacy, in the flesh” —Pope Francis, Jan 1, 2021.
Our consecrated life should witness Christ and emulate Mary’ humility who leads us to the right path. Pope Francis teaches, “God does not exalt us because of our gifts, because of our wealth or because of our skills, but because of humility. God loves humility. God lifts those who humble themselves; he lifts those who obey his Holy Will. Mary, in fact, attributes no other “title” except servant to herself. She says nothing else about herself, she seeks nothing else for herself.” The founder of the congregation of the sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro, Most Reverend Bishop Hendry Gogarty, had the vision to follow the footsteps of the Immaculate Conception, in answering God’s call to do his will. Based on that, every CDNK member strives to be as pure and clean of heart as the founders’ intensions.