On Friday Irish Ambassador Fionnuala Quinlan congratulated Loreto Sister Colombiére Kelly who was celebrating her 100th Birthday.
Sister Colombiére, who hails from Kilkenny, has spent over 70 years in Kenya and has taught in various schools across the country.
The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose members are commonly known as the Loreto Sisters, is a Roman Catholic religious congregation of women dedicated to education founded in Saint-Omer by an Englishwoman, Mary Ward, in 1609. The congregation takes its name from the Marian shrine at Loreto in Italy where Ward, who was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 December 2009, used to pray.
In the early 19th century, the Loreto sisters developed as a distinct community in Ireland. Under the guidance of Sister Frances Mary Teresa Ball, institutes developed in and from Ireland.
After Sister Delphine Hart began the India foundation in 1841, further institures followed in Mauritius, England, Spain, South Africa, Canada, USA, Peru and Kenya.
Today the congregation is engaged in a wide variety of new ministries: literacy programmes, spiritual direction, counseling, managing shelters for homeless women as well as several aspects of the movement for greater justice and peace in the world. They are active in every continent, running around 150 schools worldwide which educate over 70,000 pupils.
In Kenya, the congregation run the Loreto Kiambu Girls’ High School, Loreto Convent Mombasa, Loreto High School, in Limuru, Loreto Convent Msongari in Lavington and Loreto Convent Valley Road.