Sr Anastazia Nyajura is the eleventh-born in her family of 12 siblings, of whom two passed away. Her father too left them for his heavenly abode. Her mother, Mrs Masika Justine stays in Kasanga parish, Bwera in Kasese diocese of Uganda.

Sr Anastazia Nyajura Mercy belongs to the congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and is currently in Ediope parish in Arua diocese, Uganda. She joined the religious life on 15 December 2017 and made her first profession on 25 January 2022, becoming the first Jesus Youth nun from Uganda.

 Sr Anastazia shares with us how she got close to Jesus and the inspiration behind her vocation.

I was living an ordinary life in my village. I had not taken faith and Jesus Christ seriously until one day, I happened to attend a random retreat in my parish. It was conducted by a Jesus Youth full-timer, along with a missionary family. Through them, I got to know of the six pillars of Jesus Youth and desired to take up this identity too. I was deeply moved by the way Jesus loves me personally and he inspired me to do more. Jesus gave a direction to my plain life.

The desire to do something for my fellow youth prompted to become a full-timer. After having successfully completed fruitful training, I was placed in Hima parish in 2015 as part of the ‘First batch of African Full-timers.’

The theme ‘Be a Disciple and Make Disciples’ – Mt. 28:19 inspired me a lot. I saw many followers for the Lord Jesus Christ with this motive while attending the training and got on a move to do what was taught.

During my full-timership, I got to meet Jesus every day of my life through personal prayer and the Word of God. Regular sacramental life kept me connected to the Lord and day-by-day, I got more and more close to my Jesus. I got to embrace the lifestyle of Jesus Youth in my life especially personal prayer, regular confession and attendance of daily Mass, which helped me stay close to the Lord and this desire kept on growing in me. The calmness and peace in the presence of my Jesus is something I enjoy tremendously. This motivated me to take up this vocation. My vocation helps me practice this more effectively now.

The fellowship at JY helped me a lot because I have got friends here. I was happy that I could always ask them to pray for my dream to become a religious sister. I kept focused as Mt. 19:26, It’s impossible with men but with God all things are possible. I still couldn’t believe that I could boldly decide to take up this vocation, coming from my background, but my God Almighty made it all possible and all praise to God so high!

In my religious life, I promise to be an intercessor for this movement and pray for its lifestyle to grow worldwide. I wish to spread the spirituality of this movement with my religious fraternity too and in parishes once opportunities surface.

Never an opportunity is missed to share with my fellow brothers and sisters the unique identity of the movement that is based on the six pillars:

  • Personal Prayer.
  • Word of God – Reading and meditating the Holy Scripture.
  • Sacramental Life – Frequent and active participation in the seven Sacraments, with emphasis on the Eucharist and Confession.
  • Fellowship.
  • Evangelization.
  • Option for the Poor. 

These have truly changed my life.

My focus is more on schools and I wish to encourage teenagers to stay close to Jesus. I want to tell them about the happiness and peace we have in life with Jesus. It is saddening to see my young brothers and sisters going astray without any direction in life. I hope my vocation would help me more to help them out. This will lead to more vocations which would indeed bless our place. Kneeling down before the Holy Eucharist, I keep these little ones before the Lord. I believe that through them the Lord will accomplish many bigger things.

I also have a big dream of a Jesus Youth formation centre for the African continent. I know how much the movement has personally influenced me and I am very sure that the spirituality of the movement could attract more youth in Africa and help them to be closer to Jesus. The youth of my country are a cause for serious worry, and they find a place in my daily prayers. Poverty and unemployment in Uganda leads more youth to drugs and other life-threatening habits. We have to do all that we can to regain them. I believe that strong prayers are the first step in our efforts to bring them back. Jesus Youth movement can also play a big role to influence the teenagers and youth.

Mboowa Ronald, JY national coordinator of Uganda, proudly talks about Sr Anaztasia.

Sr. Anaztasia is a calm and prayerful sister. I always fondly recollect her commitment during her full-timership in Hima parish. Fr Maserka (Hima parish priest) remembers her as a lady so devoted to Mother Mary and said that she was an inspiration to the many youths in the parish. She was very adamant about taking up this vocation. As we talked, I came to know that her resolve was really deep and unstoppable. Her conviction was undoubtedly strong. She had kept hoping in the Lord until her dream came true. She totally depended on the Lord’s providence and her faith inspired us too. Whenever she received a phone call, during her formation, all she asked for was prayer support. 

Finally, we got our first religious sister from our Jesus Youth community in Uganda. I am convinced beyond doubt that once we trust in the Lord we surely will never regret. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

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