Little Sisters of St. Francis
The Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi of the Third Order Regular is an indigenous Institute of Diocesan Right. It was founded on 1st May 1923 in Uganda by the late Mother Mary Kevin Kearney, a Franciscan Missionary.
The Nature of the Little Sisters’ Institute
The Institute of the Little Sisters of St. Francis is an indigenous, multi-ethnic, Diocesan Institute founded on 1st May 1923 by Mother Mary Kevin Kearney. By nature, the Little Sisters’ Institute was in a doubled pronged. It comes from a Religious foundation that had its own autonomy and spirituality, namely the Franciscan Sisters of the Five Wounds in St. Mary’s Abbey in Mill Hill – London from which the Franciscan Missionary Sisters stemmed later, However, the Little Sisters do claim Mother Kevin as their rightful Foundress who developed a spirituality characteristic to her as an individual. Nevertheless the two prongs have their meeting point in the Franciscan spirituality that underpinned the spirituality of the two foundations of Mother Kevin.
Besides being Franciscan the Little Sisters are also missionary in nature. Right from the beginning of the Institute, Mother took the Little Sisters out of their birth places to territories beyond Buganda, Busoga, Teso into Kenya and Zambia where the Little Sisters went to help in the formation of Zambian girls. It is because of this missionary aspect of the Institute that the Little Sisters later went to serve in Tanzania and USA.
The physical setting
The Motherhouse of the Little Sisters is located at Nkokonjeru in the present day Catholic Diocese of Lugazi. At the time of the Institute’s founding, Nkokonjeru Parish was in then Lubaga Archdiocese, which later became the present day Kampala Archdiocese, from which Lugazi Diocese was established. Geographically Nkokonjeru village is found in the Buikwe district in Kyaggwe County, in Buganda. Back then the physical setting for the Motherhouse location was different from what it is today. As there were no districts at the time, Nkokonjeru village fell under one of the Buganda Kyaggwe County.