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WiRED Marks Sr. Bernadette Nealon’s Golden Jubilee

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WiRED International congratulates one of our trusted colleagues in Kenya, Sr. Bernadette Nealon, on the celebration of her Golden Jubilee — the 50th anniversary of her taking vows as a Catholic Sister. The ceremony honors her remarkable five decades of work in low-resource regions.

The observance also honored Sr. Monicah Nyaboke for her Silver Jubilee, which recognizes 25 years since she took her vows. The event, officiated by the Bishop of the Kakamega Diocese, Joseph Obanyi, was held in Nairobi.

The Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programmes (KUAP-Pandipieri) Management Team and a number of staff members travelled six hours by bus at night from Kisumu to honor Sr. Bernadette. She said, “When I saw all of them I was indeed very happy!”

Sr. Bernadette came to Kenya from Ireland in September 1998 to work in the Archdiocese of Kisumu as a Franciscan missionary of St. Joseph. She was assigned to serve in the informal settlements of Kisumu City. She said, “I was shocked at the living conditions of the people, but I was overjoyed at their joyfulness, spontaneity and the care they gave to those in need from the little they had.”

WiRED’s history with Sr. Bernadette began in 2002 in Kisumu when, under a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, WiRED established a community health information center whose primary concern was HIV/AIDS. Throughout the years WiRED has offered several programs including our Community Health Information Centers, the Community Health Worker (CHW) Program and the Hodge Health Screening Clinics. The current programs serve around 10,000 people each month — programs made possible in partnership with KUAP-Pandipieri, directed by Sr. Bernadette. Lillian Dajoh is a CHW who manages the WiRED CHW program.

Lillian Dajoh and Sr. Bernadette Receive WiRED’s Award in 2017

Years ago WiRED board members and volunteers began giving contributions of “lunch money” to help Sr. Bernadette Nealon subsidize purchases of food and medicine for the neediest people in Kisumu. In 2009 this small effort became the Sister Bernadette Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund, which today forms vital support to the community as it deals with drought, floods, conflict and starvation.

In 2017 WiRED presented Sr. Bernadette and Ms. Dajoh with an Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Community Health Program for their work among critically underserved populations in Kisumu.

Sr. Bernadette’s Golden Jubilee signifies 50 years of service and devotion to a Catholic nun’s order and the Church. Her achievement indicates spiritual renewal and recommitment to vows and service. Thank you, Sr. Bernadette!

This YouTube Video shows the event:

Comments from WiRED Friends

I have worked with Sr. Bernadette for more than two decades on community health and welfare programs and have seen her humanitarian work up close. This Golden Jubilee offers a testament to her remarkable and unwavering dedication to serving the most vulnerable communities in Western Kenya. It highlights her selfless approach, her deep empathy for those in need and her impactful contributions to improving their lives. Especially during this holiday season, her Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund stands as a beacon of hope for many families struggling with food insecurity by providing them with essential sustenance, especially for the children. Sr. Bernadette’s unwavering commitment to serving others is truly inspiring and serves as an example for all of us.
WiRED Executive Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D.

Sr. Bernadette embodies the values that we need so much more of in this challenged world.
WiRED board member

What a joy to learn that Sr. Bernadette has celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Like you, I am grateful for her life and ministry!
A Catholic nun in Kansas who volunteers with WiRED

Sr. Bernadette is truly what I would call a saint — so selfless, loving, unconditionally giving to everyone and all. And she seems like such a happy person!  Her life seems so full because she gleans such joy from helping others have better lives. Sr. Bernadette has made this world better. And there’s so much the world could learn from her.
A WiRED volunteer

We have been hearing about Sr. Bernadette for the past many years, and I have always been inspired by the work she does on behalf of so many people who have little in this life. She is a light in a world that increasingly needs people like her to brighten our way.
A WiRED Volunteer

This is a great honor to mankind she serves and to God. She deserves the recognition afforded by her Golden Jubilee. Congratulations, Sr. Bernadette!
A WiRED Volunteer