Monastery of Our Lady of Consolation. Wote, Makueni, Kenya. Augustinian Recollects.

The brown color of the dry land around the monastery of the Augustinian Recollects of Wote (Makueni, Kenya) has become an oasis. What happened with the plants symbolizes well the grip of the Augustinian Recollect charisma in hearts.

When the Augustinian Recollect nuns of the Federation of Spain arrived in Wote, (Makueni, Kenya) in May 2008, their convent was still under construction and the grounds of the estate were a barren brown monotony, broken only by some struggling acacia trees. every year for their survival.

The implementation of contemplative Augustinian-Recollect religious life in this region of the Diocese of Machakos can well be symbolized by what happened on the physical terrain of the monastery. With courage and hard work, with perseverance and patience, the monastery of Our Lady of Consolation is today a green oasis that also distributes water, which is life, to its neighbors.

With several projects and the directing of solidarity resources from the Augustinian-Recollect Family, the nuns first built a dam to collect rainwater and drilled nine times until they found the water, adding a filtration and desalination system.

The Recollect community today has its food assured with the crops of onion, tomato, pepper, chickpea, bean, cabbage, Java plum, mango, orange, guava, papaya and a type of local melon. The two cows have fresh grass and the pigs, chickens and rabbits grow well fed. Not only that, the community sells production to a nearby hotel because of the quality of their product.

María José Vila, Spanish nun who founded the monastery, planted the first gladiolus. Then came bougainvilleas or roses. The flowers attracted enormous attention from the population, unaccustomed to that explosion of color and life. Since then, they firmly assert that “the nuns have brought the rains.”

Another three acres are dedicated to a majestic forest of fir, pine, cypress and other species, which serve as a refuge for a considerable number of birds such as starlings, hadada ibis, swallow-tailed drongos…

The contemplative community also makes liturgical vestments and hosts for liturgical celebrations to obtain the necessary resources for their necessities. There are a total of 14 members. Two of the founding nuns continue, the Spaniard María José and the Filipino Judith. Sister Victoria, a Kenyan, is also a nun of solemn vows, while Josephine hopes to make her solemn profession next year.

The rest of the community is made up of three novices, a postulant, five aspirants and a young woman in the first process of vocational discernment. Since the founding of this monastery, almost twenty Kenyan nuns have strengthened the communities of several monasteries in Spain.

Within this environment of roots and growth, the community has recently received, with the collaboration of ARCORES, the Augustinian Recollect International Solidarity Network, an all-terrain vehicle. Providence wanted it to arrive at the monastery just after the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, patron of the Augustinian-Recollect Family.

Like everything in Africa, the arrival of the vehicle has not been without adventures. Although it is now safe in the monastery’s garage, it actually arrived in the country in mid-January and was detained by endless customs procedures, computer systems that were down, the demand for new taxes or the appearance of new unexpected taxes, insurance premiums…

The first week in Wote, where it arrived from Mombasa after a six-hour drive, the white Toyota Land Cruiser was parked waiting to complete the registration procedures and receive the final plates, because using the provisional ones implied a daily payment of 5,000 shillings (36 USD).

This vehicle will be used to distribute the production from the garden, the sewn materials and the liturgical host more quickly and with less operating cost, as well as for the administration of the monastery itself. That is why the community received it with joy, to the rhythmic rhythm of drums, tambourines and kayambas.