The congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa was founded in Bura in 1929 and apostolically erected in 1938 following the application for the same by Bishop John Hefferman Cssp, Vicar Apostolic of the then Vicariate of Zanzibar.  The institute was named after St. Joseph who was the Patron Saint of the Vicariate.

The four Founders of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Bishop Hefferman intended that the Sisters of St. Joseph should be a religious apostolic congregation very much involved in all activities related to the development of the local church through evangelization in Kenya and especially in Mombasa. Mombasa was part of the Vicariate of Zanzibar, which later developed to a diocese of its own; hence the name of the Congregation became Sisters of St. Joseph of Mombasa.

The four founding Sisters of the Congregation made their first vows on December 8, 1941.  These were Sr. Mary Njeri, Sr. Theresa Nyambura, Sr. Joseph Nyambura and Sr. Martha Tatu.  The four endured a long wait to consecrate themselves to God.  They were determined to become Sisters just "like the European Sisters" of the Precious Blood Congregation that saw to it that the young African girls got a strong foundation in Christianity and religious life.

The Sisters were to work to evangelize the people in co-operation with the Bishop and the clergy. They were to work among them in such a way that their simplicity, service and prayer life would influence the people in making the faith an inspiration of their lives and culture. Indeed Sisters Mary Njeri, Theresa Nyambura, Joseph Nyambura and Martha Tatu became witnesses of Christ's love among the local people who for the first time saw African girls become Sisters.


The Precious Blood Sisters trained the Sisters of St. Joseph in religious life. Sr. Rosalina received the first candidates at Bura Mission in Taita on June 6, 1929. Bura became the cradle of the new Congregation and it still is the Mother House of the Sisters of St. Joseph. More girls joined the congregation every year.  However some left, but a few remained to become the cornerstone upon which the Congregation is build.

These candidates were sent to Tanzania to be trained with the sisters of Kilimanjaro after which they returned to Bura.  In 1938 the Decree to erect the Congregation was granted by Rome and consequently five girls were received as postulants on December 8, 1938.  Two years later, on 8th Dec 1941, four of the girls made their first profession.  These are the four that we honor as our founding Sisters.  We believe that the Holy Spirit guided the growth of the Congregation from these initial four.  They became the seedlings that would yield the crop that is the membership of the Sisters of St. Joseph. 

From the four, the congregation has gradually grown over the years.  Today the Congregation has 302 Sisters and 35 girls in the formation.   

The Sisters strive to give authentic witness in the world as they live out our Josephite spirituality which is rooted in humble obedience to the will of God. Union with Christ through our prayer and daily contemplation of the Gospel message gives us the disposition of simplicity that governs all our service.