Order of Malta Kenya

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

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Pilgrimage to Lourdes : 28th April – 4th May 2016

Sep 14, 2016

For the two children caretakers from The NEST Children's Home, Anna Kwena and Moses Omwange , it was an exciting and incredible experience to accompany Joyce Elizabeth (suffering from a leg condition that makes walking and standing difficult) to the Lourdes Pilgrimage. This was all made possible by courtesy of Princess Tana Ruffo di Calabria, spouse of H.E. Prince Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Kenya.

Anna and Moses were touched by the warm welcome they received from everyone from the moment they arrived in Milano and later at Lourdes and were moved by the "atmosphere of solidarity that engulfed all the gatherings until one could not realize the diversities of culture and background, since there was a buzz of people talking as if from one family".

The three pilgrims were so happy to meet Princess Tana, her son Francesco and daughter Scilla, and expressed their gratitude for having received this wonderful gift to be part of the pilgrimage and for the pledge that was made by the Princess to fund the operation to correct Joyce's limbs.

The Order of Malta's enthusiastic youth and priests surrounding and accompanying Joyce referred to her as the "Queen" and she soon became everyone's favourite. Since the pilgrimage, Joyce has been jolly and bright : its as if she has gone through an initial stage of healing. The drink at the fountains and the holy bath provided our pilgrims with a feeling of calm, peacefulness and alertness and little Joyce did not even shiver from the chillness. Anna and Moses, in their interactions with other pilgrims suffering from various challenges, learned about patience, humility, hope and joy! They prayed for the different petitions that they carried to Lourdes all the way from Kenya and strongly felt that their faith had been renewed. They did not want the pilgrimage to come to an end and hope that one day they will be able to return with their families!



Dear Princess Christina Ruffo di Calabria,

This is Irene, the director of the NEST! Maria gave us your little albums, thank you so much! this is such a nice idea! 
I wanted to express again HOW grateful we are for your effort and the time you are taking to give our children and employees this wonderful chance of the pilgrimage. It it getting more and more difficult to work in social work here in Kenya. The gap between poor and rich is widening by the day and people's hearts seem to harden at the same speed. Only 2 days ago some newborn twin babies were found dead in a sewer near our place.

On the same day we received a newborn baby girl who had been thrown in a plastic bag in the river but survived. She is very tiny but with the help of God and the love from our caretakers she will grow. In this context it is very important to give courage and hope not only to our children and mothers but also to our employees. The 4 people who had the chance to attend the pilgrimage have come back so much stronger and full of good will. It is sometimes not easy for them to see their friends and neighbours becoming rich while they themselves work so hard and honest and yet they still remain with the same little salary.

But the experience of the pilgrimage, the kindness and love they see there, your selfless service to the poor and helpless has deeply impressed our employees. And it is that message of love and sacrifice which they bring back and spread among their colleagues and friends.

THANK YOU for that, Princess.

Have a wonderful Christmas season!
yours, Irene


Dear Princess,

Peace and greetings!

I have received the beautiful booklet of pictures from the Lourdes Pilgrimage! Thank you for making it for us. Joyce Elizabeth was very happy to receive it too. It is a treasure now; she is using to tell stories to her friends. Here is her photo showing her sharing with friends.

I am using mine too to narrate the experience at Lourdes. The most wonderful days in my life! they have opened my eyes and comforted my heart. I came back renewed in strength and faith! Thank you and God bless you.

Omwange Moses Ondieki, The NEST Children's Home