The Portuguese missionaries, who arrived in 1496, dedicated the chapel of their first convent to the Virgin Mary. The local Muslim population was hostile to them, and the priests were only allowed to preach to their own. Missionary activity only began in 1630, but the Portuguese were eventually driven out, the churches destroyed, and the Christians scattered or sold as slaves.
In our times, the Church in Kenya really took root with the arrival of the fathers of the Holy Spirit (1889), the Mill Hill fathers (1894) and the missionaries of the Consolata of Turin (1902). Relying on the natural love of the natives for their own mothers, the missionaries spread the love for Mary, true mother of God and men.
In this largely polygamous country, the Gospel message is a strong call to help men to understand how to love and respect women. They are especially impressed by Saint Joseph’s example of a good father and husband when he took Mary and Jesus into exile.
The Consolata Shrine in Nairobi was built in 1968-1971 to fulfill a vow made during the persecution of Mau Mau. In August 1989, it became a Marian Shrine, dedicated to Our Lady Consolata (Consoler of the Afflicted).
Another shrine is dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, inaugurated in 1994 and held by the Salesians.
Nairobi was visited by Saint John Paul II in 1985.
The Shrine of Tuthu, blessed in 1971, is dedicated to the Consolata.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Liberty was blessed in 1967.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima dates from 1975.
In addition, there are 250 chapels and 300 missions, where Marian feast are joyfully celebrated throughout the year.
"Mother dear, with your motherly heart, protect my family! My good mother, I need a miracle, I trust you!"
"I need your quick assistance! Help me to stay simple, humble and pure. Protect all my loved ones."
"I have no more work, I have no money. Mother of the poor, think of me!"
Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque continenti, Ed. Segno, Udine, 1997, p. 695-703