Franciscans Express One Voice for Peace in Nairobi

HNP Communications Franciscan World

NAIROBI, Kenya — On Jan. 26, 120 Friars Minor, Capuchins, Conventuals, Franciscan Missionaries of Hope and Little Sisters of St. Francis gathered in Nairobi for a Day of Prayer for Peace in Kenya. They tied white ribbons around their wrists as a sign of togetherness in a common endeavor — to express peace, unity and togetherness. 

Thousands of Kenyans are living in camps, schools, church buildings, and police stations in this ravaged country, all in need of food and clothing. 

The day marked the official opening of the Franciscan Family Association Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation. Br. Gianfrancesco Sisto, OFM, explained the meaning and purpose of this new office. “As Franciscans we want to handle conflicts, turmoil, hatred, and lack of unity differently than Cain did in the Bible. I want to know and to recognize another person as my brother and sister, whether they are close to me or distant, especially when society is using violence to harm and even kill one another and to destroy the things of the earth. We Franciscans want to do the opposite: To show concern, unity, and togetherness in a spirit of brotherhood wherever we find a divided, polarized and bleeding society. With our Franciscan message, we have the power to bring healing and reconciliation into the present violent society of Kenya.”

“There is no peace without justice and no justice without the truth that sets us free,” he added.  

While he said that Franciscans may not have the possibility to solve the present conflicts and to console all the suffering of displaced and traumatized people, showing a symbol of unity, mutual commitment, good will may be an instrument of peace and a sign of hope.