Sister Irene Stephani’s beatification in Nyeri town draws a huge crowd of catholic pilgrims from every part of the country.
Sister Stefani came to Kenya in 1915 and worked as a nurse at British military hospitals during WW1. She then settled near Nyeri where she was known as “Nyaatha”, meaning “mother of mercy” in the Kikuyu language. Nyeri has held three days of beatification ceremonies, taking the nun a step closer to becoming a saint.
Tanzanian Cardinal Polycarp Pengo on Saturday read a letter of beatification in Latin from Pope Francis, declaring that the sister “from now on will be called Blessed”.
According to Daily Nation up to 100,000 people were in attendance, with millions more watching on live television.
Sister Stefani died in 1930 at the age of 39.
On Sunday, her remains, which were exhumed in 1995, are to be taken from the Mathari Memorial Chapel to a new tomb at Nyeri Cathedral.
British military officers will oversee the burial as a mark of respect for her work treating soldiers in Kenya and Tanzania during World War One, our reporter says.
For a person to be beatified, there must be verification that a miracle has occurred as a result of people praying to the beatification candidate after they have died.