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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.

Renewal Group in Nairobi, 2013.

Fr John Heinhold outside a church in Lodwar Diocese as the sun sets.

The Irish President Mary McAleese vistied Kenya in October 2001. She is pictured here with St Patrick's Missionaries, Frs John Marren, Michael Brennan, Dinnie Newman and her husband Martin.

Frs Conor Molony and Niall Martin pray at the graveside of Fr Ray McNicholas at the Society Graveyard in Nakuru.

A spectacular view near Chepnyal, in West Pokot, in Kitale Diocese.

Fr PJ McCamphill with friends after Mass at Mary Mother of God Parish in Nakuru Diocese.

Fr Joe Cantwell performs an adult baptism in Kitui Diocese in the 1970s.

These people are fortunate to benefit from a water project organised by Fr PJ McCamphill in Nakuru Diocese.

The water project is a 'self-help' scheme and here the local women are laying pipes.

A little bit of history in 2001. The blessing of the building site for our first Student Formation Centre in Kenya. L to R the late Fr Paddy Donnelly, Frs John Marren, Gabriel Dolan, conor Molony and Bartie O'Doherty. With the spade in hand is the late Fr Richard Griffin.

Great excitement in his home parish at the ordination of Kenyan Fr David Chelimo. He now works in Zambia.

Fr Fidelis Ubi, from Nigeria, washes the feet of one of his parishioners in Lodwar, during the Maundy Thursday Mass.

In the 1960s the pioneer missionaries to Lodwar Diocese in Turkana were aided by a mission aeroplane. Here St Patrick's Father Gerry O'Carroll helps Sr Sean Underwood MMM, the pilot to refuel the plane.

Fr Emmanuel Obi, from Nigeria, in the Diocese of Lodwar in the semi-arid northern part of Kenya. He offers Mass here.

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.

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