This event has been temporarily postponed. Will post when new date is announced.
By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, will speak at Oklahoma City University on Wednesday, September 23. The public presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Kirkpatrick Auditorium at N.W. 24th Street and Blackwelder Avenue.
Nyirumbe will discuss her efforts to help young girls rescued from the infamous warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Her Time magazine profile stated: “For girls who were forcibly enlisted as child soldiers, Sister Rosemary has the power to rekindle a bright light in eyes long gone blank.”
Guests will hear from Sister Rosemary and have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session afterwards.
Nyirumbe is the director of the Saint Monica Girls’ Tailoring Center, which helps girls to support themselves and their families by learning life skills such as sewing and cooking.
Sister Rosemary has two schools currently, one in Gulu, Uganda and one in Atiak, Uganda. A third is under construction in Torit, South Sudan.
A member of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Nyirumbe has had close encounters with LRA guerillas. Some instances nearly led to her death, while she was helping victims of the conflicts raging in Uganda and Sudan.
As director of St. Monica’s since 2001, Sister Rosemary has given hope to more than 2,000 young women, many of whom were abducted, raped, tortured and forced to kill their own family members as soldiers in Kony’s army.
St. Monica’s offers a comprehensive program, offering inclusive, nationally accredited courses in tailoring, catering, secretarial studies and computer applications.
At the age of 15 Rosemary left her family and all that she knew and went to the Seven Heart convent, which was 7 hours away.
“For me to make the decision to become a sister was something I had thought of gradually and when it came to my mind it was like I thought I want to give my life to taking care of people,” Nyirumbe stated.
A documentary, called “Sewing Hope,” narrated by Oscar Award-winner Forest Whitaker tells the adventurous story of Nyirumbe’s life at the school. The documentary and the book of the same name was co-written by author Nancy Henderson and Oklahoma City attorney Reggie Whitten.
Whitten is also co-founder of Pros For Africa (PFA) a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that encourages and assists universities, colleges, students and professors of all fields to provide support to Sister Rosemary and her work in Northern Uganda and the South Sudan.
“Sister Rosemary has lived through various wars her entire life, but while most civilians were hiding, Sister Rosemary was openly defying Kony,” Whitten said. “She was putting up signs encouraging women and children to come to her school for protection. It’s absolutely amazing she wasn’t killed.”
All proceeds from the book are donated to the Saint Monica school. The documentary is available for viewing on Netflix, and a preview can be seen online at sewinghope.com.
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 the annual Pros for Africa banquet hosted by OKC Thunder Serge Ibaka and Sister Rosemary will take place to benefit the Serge Ibaka Foundation and Sister Rosemary’s Girls Tailoring Center.
“It’s our fourth annual fundraiser conducted jointly with Sister Rosemary and Serge Ibaka of the OKC Thunder,” said Whitten. “Serge is a big fan of Sister Rosemary and her work and Sister Rosemary is a huge fan of Serge. Our event is at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and will be even bigger and better than last year.”
Reggie’s wife Rachelle Whitten and Sister Rosemary founded Sisters United in 2012, a for profit business that promotes a global brand of fashion, which also supports The Sewing Hope Foundation and St. Monica’s Girls Tailoring School.
“Thousands of young children have found peace and regained their dignity due to the tireless work of Sister Rosemary,” Whitten added. “She is one of the most sought after public speakers, especially on the subject of Women and Children’s Rights.”
The OCU presentation with Sister Rosemary is free and groups are welcomed. Reservations are not required, however, you can RSVP at www.okcu.edu/sisterrosemary.