Introduction It has been a great yearning for the Christians in the Catholic Diocese of Kitui to have a Marian Shrine to strengthen devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary since the Diocese is under the patronage of Our Lady of Africa.
In the diocese, Mary is depicted as an African woman, an example to both women and men, who cooperate in establishing the Church through the most intimate union with God. She is identified with the humble women who are accustomed to work in the heat of the sun and the struggles of life. She accompanies and protects them and their families.
The desire to have a shrine came from the first seed of faith which fell on 14th April 1939, when Rev. Fr. Peader of the Holy Ghost Fathers came to Kitui (Museve). He had visited one of the students they had from Kitui in Kabaa Secondary School (Machakos Diocese). As a result of the visit the first Mass ever was celebrated there, and later a school was built. Later on, the Late Rt. Rev. William Dunne recommended the place to be a privileged place of prayer, retreat, and recollections. Regarding this, he reserved one room in the sacristy, which was used for prayers, which later became the first parish rectory when the shrine parish was solemnly erected on 8th December 2013 by His Grace Anthony Muheria.
The shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Protection. Our Lady protects the faithful from fears, anxiety, distress and snares of the evil one. In the statue, she is depicted having crushed a pot, which in the Kamba customs symbolizes crushing snares of the evil one. New Evangelization Spiritual and pastoral activities have taken a new shape: visits, contributions in terms of chicken and money, manual work, that everybody wants to be associated with the shrine. The celebration of sacraments, retreats, recollections, pilgrimages by young people, catechists and groups of men and women, clearing the ground and other means of putting up the structure have become a source of evangelization in the diocese. Many people have come back to the faith, broken families have reconciled and many other witnesses of faith, thanks to the protection of our Lady.
Our Lady of Protection Shrine has become a place for young people to come and express their longing for God. Many have offered themselves, their time, and their energy in setting up of the shrine. Youth from the parishes, schools, colleges, and universities have shown immense commitment in clearing and leveling the ground, celebrating the Word of God and the mysteries of our redemption. From the Shrine experience, many have given testimonies of rediscovering their dreams and purpose in life. In a world where they think they are not listened to, many vocations have sprung up from here.
In life people experience anguish, helplessness, and pain even from their families, schools and close friends. They have questions about worth of their lives, about their studies and their future. At Museve they discover the gaze of God, who does not judge, who forgives and does not confuse them with what they have done. The Shrine is an oasis of the infinite mercy of God. From here people will discover God who loves them as they are. The God who has their future in His hand and guides them through darkness of life to a future of hope. By being accompanied by Our Lady Mother of God and Protector in the path of life, and in their joys and sorrows they discover their dreams; experience God’s mercy that knows no limit.
This is what Museve is, and will be for all the faithful through Our Lady of Protection.
Importance of the Shrine
- The Shrine will strengthen the faith and bring together the people of Kitui since they will be having regular opportunities of visiting the shrine and pray for their needs and the needs of our Country.
- Since our Diocese is under the Patronage of Our Lady of Africa, it will help all faithful of the diocese to become more Marian.
- It will provide the adequate setting for the first contemplative sister’s Monastery.
- It will come to meet the great Yearning of Our people to channel their devotion to Mary, and materialize their recourse to her. We fly to your protection, Oh holy mother of God.
- It will attract more people from other Dioceses and so in return this will strengthen the relationship of our diocese and the other dioceses.