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Regis campus receives the report of the Kenya Seminar

September 16, 2012

Weston, Ma. Regis College heard the much-awaited report from its Kenya Seminar over dinner on Wednesday evening, September 12, 2012, while welcoming special guest Sister Mary Owens, IBVM, a psychologist and the director of the pioneer and premier orphanage for children with HIV in Nyumbani, Kenya, which the group visited in late May and early June.

K. Erat & Sr. Mary Owens, IBVM, and Assoc Prof. Lauress Wilkins, PhD

Also participating was Kathryn Erat, the sponsor of the Regis College Christian Immersion Program which, highly selective, requires a semester of academic preparation followed by travel to some part of the world in which students can be “immersed” in a new understanding of Christianity. In previous years, the program has supported trips to Rome, Israel, and China, with different faculty guides chosen to teach and accompany students according to the nature of the seminar and its travel destination.

Kenya Seminar

This year the academic seminar included a focus on health and went to Kenya with faculty guides Professor Nancy Bittner, PhD, RN (Nursing), Associate Professor Lauress Wilkins, PhD (Religious Studies), and former lecturer Lorna Rinear (History). The students who were part of the learning experience this year were Gabriella Aragon, Karynne Creech, Teresa Crevier, Alix Comeau, Lauren Doherty, Joseph Osborne, Sabrina Palanza, Jeffrie Parrish, and Caroline Roche.

Nyumbani is actually a village, and the genius of the founding of the orphanage twenty years ago by Father Angelo D’Agostino, SJ, despite many obstacles, was his understanding of the value of keeping the village and the network of families intact. At the time of the founding, the oldest members of the village community and the very youngest were, in effect, losing those who belonged to all the intermediate generations.

As Sister Mary Owens put it in an anniversary newsletter, “through Father D’Agostino’s faith in God’s guidance, courage in the face of misunderstanding, and perseverance despite betrayal, his vision for Nyumbani has been realized beyond what even he envisaged at the foundation. Over 50 young people are now re-integrated back into the wider community and taking the challenge of self-reliance. Nyumbani Home’s infrastructure is well-stablilized and cares for 119 children; a magnificent state-of-the-art Diagnostic Laboratory has been built; a well-established Lea Toto management is in place, caring for over 3000 children; Nyumbani Village is reaching its full stature in November with all essential buildings complete and 100 families of 1000 children in residence.”

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