Consolata Missionary Sisters – (1891-1930)
+ Aurelia Mercede Stefani was born in Anfo, Italy. She entered the Consolata Missionary Sisters in 1911, receiving the religious name “Irene.”
+ In 1914, following her profession of vows, she was sent to her community’s mission in Kenya by their founder, Blessed Joseph Allamano.
+ Sister Irene served as a nurse and was respected and liked by those whom she served. She was given the nickname “Nyaatha,” which means “mother of mercy.”
+ During the First World War, Irene served in hospitals tending both wounded soldiers and civilians and, in 1916, she appointed to assist the Red Cross and she served in a variety of settings including hospitals in Lindi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
+ Following the war, Stefani returned to Nyeri, Kenya, helping promote native vocations and, later, she was sent to Our Lady of Divine Providence Mission in Gikondi. She taught in local schools and taught catechism to parishioners. She served as the local superior of her community for eight years.
+ In 1930, Sister Irene contracted a disease from a patient for whom she was caring. The illness took its toll over the next several months and eventually claimed her life. She died in her community on October 31, 1930.
+ Blessed Irene Stefani was beatified in 2015.
The Consolata Missionaries and Consolata Missionary Sisters were founded by Blessed Joseph Allamano in Italy in 1901 and 1910, respectively. Inspired by the founder’s devotion to Mary under her title “Our Lady of Consolation,” these communities are wholly dedicated to the work of the missions, witnessing to the universality of the Church and the Gospels. Blessed Joseph Allamano is celebrated by the Church on February 16.
“With the help of Mary Most Holy, I will love Charity more than myself . When one loves really, one does not feel fatigue and everything becomes possible.”—Blessed Irene Stefani
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Blessed Irene Stefani. We pray that her Beatification may urge us to imitate her in commitment to holiness and to Jesus totally and completely. Let her charity and her heroic missionary life increase in us the fervent desire of announcing and witnessing the Gospel for the coming of your Kingdom, at the service of the Church and of the mission. May Blessed Irene, angel of charity, help us to love You above all things, in taking care of the weak, the sick, the marginalized, and those far away. May she inspire us to spread the perfume of your love and happiness. May Mother Mary Consolata guide us in bringing consolation and fullness of life always and everywhere. Amen.
(Prayer in honor of Blessed Irene Stefani found on the website of the Consolata Missionary Sisters: http://consolatasisters.org/blessed-sr-irene-stefani/)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.