The ‘Lourdes of Africa’? Faithful Flock to ‘Healing Waters’ of Kenya’s Marian Shrine, by Jonathan Liedl 

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Although best known for its alleged "healing waters," the primary purpose of the national Marian shrine in Subukia is to be a place of prayer for Kenyan Catholics--like the 50,000 who come to the shrine for the national prayer day in early October. (photo: Courtesy photo)

By Jonathan Liedl, EWTN News, June 7, 2024

Jonathan Liedl is senior editor for the Register. His background includes state Catholic conference work, three years of seminary formation, and tutoring at a university Christian study center. Liedl holds a B.A. in Political Science and Arabic Studies (Univ. of Notre Dame), an M.A. in Catholic Studies (Univ. of St. Thomas), and is currently completing an M.A. in Theology at the Saint Paul Seminary. He lives in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. …


Pilgrims venture up the steep hillside along the Way of the Cross to a small, simple chapel that encompasses the spring.

Jonathan LiedlSUBUKIA, Kenya — In a tranquil rural setting dedicated to the Virgin Mary, pilgrims immerse themselves in spring-fed waters believed by many to have miraculous healing properties.

No, we’re not in France. We’re in Kenya — at the national Marian shrine of Subukia, to be precise.

Owned by the Kenyan Catholic Conference of Bishops, the rural site in the Diocese of Nakuru has been a spiritual center for the East African nation for the past 30 years. Every year, as many as 200,000 people come to the 200-acre Village of Mary, Mother of God, for Marian devotions, Mass and reconciliation services, including about 50,000 for Kenya’s annual day of prayer in early October. And many are also undoubtedly drawn to Subukia for its purported “healing waters,” which have given the site the reputation of an African version of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. …

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