The Republic of Kenya is situated on the east coast of the African continent, on the Indian Ocean coast, and it straddles the equator. It has a wide range of climates, from desert to the north and the south east, to fertile temperate highlands in the centre and tropical rainforest at the coast.
Kenya was under British rule during colonial times. The country gained independence in 1963.
The country has a thriving tourism industry, damaged from time to time by security issues. Agriculture is very important and the country exports tea and coffee, fresh vegetables and salads, and flowers.
The population is estimated at 44 million.
St. Patrick's Missionaries in Kenya
Since its foundation in 1932, the overseas missions of the Society had all been in Nigeria, where the earliest members of the Society had worked before the establishment of the Society. The expansion to a new mission territory was a very significant development, which followed, though only indirectly, the General Chapter of the Society in 1950.
The first five members of the Society assigned to Kenya travelled by boat and arrived on December 29th 1951. The first Society members in Nigeria were to work with Holy Ghost Fathers, already present there. The pioneers in Kenya were to work with Mill Hill Missionaries. The major missionary groups already in Kenya at that time were the Italian Consolata Fathers, the Irish Holy Ghost Fathers and the English and Dutch Mill Hill Fathers.
Kenya was at the time under British Rule, and while colonial life was very comfortable, the local people lacked education and land security. From the outset in Kenya, Society members were involved in the running of schools and the training of teachers.
Over the intervening years very many members were appointed to work in Kenya and the Church grew markedly. The Diocese of Eldoret was further divided into the Dioceses of Lodwar, Nakuru, and later Kitale. John Mahon became first Bishop of Lodwar in 1968, and Maurice Crowley is the first Bishop of Kitale having been appointed in 1998. Bill Dunne, one of the pioneers who arrived in 1951, was appointed the first Bishop of Kitui in 1963.
Kenya today is an important centre for the training of St Patrick’s priests. A House of Initial Formation was opened in 1997 in the Diocese of Nakuru. The Theology House for those in the final stages of their training, at Tangaza College in Nairobi, was opened in 2002.
Society members work in the Archdioceses of Nairobi and Mombasa, and in the Dioceses of Nakuru, Kericho, Eldoret, Kitale and Lodwar.