NEW SUPERIOR (PRIOR-ADMINISTRATOR)
On the 10th of February, 2015, the monks of Inkamana Abbey (Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa) elected a new Superior, Fr. John Paul Mwaniki- OSB, as Prior Administrator of the abbey. He was confirmed in office and installed on the same day by Abbot President of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien, Rt. Rev. Abbot Jeremias Schröder- OSB. The election of a new superior in Inkamana Abbey followed upon the end of the mandate of Rt. Rev. Abbot Godfrey Sieber- OSB after 12 years in office.
In the Benedictine tradition a Prior Administrator is different from the “Claustral Prior” (prior claustralis) and the “Conventual Prior” (prior conventualis). A Conventual Prior is an independent superior of a monastery that is not yet an “abbey” but a “priory.” In 1982 Inkamana was raised from a Conventual Priory to an Abbey. A Claustral Prior is appointed by the abbot of an abbey and assists the abbot in the governance of an abbey. A Claustral Prior has no ordinary jurisdiction but delegated jurisdiction. On the other hand, a Prior Administrator holds the same authority as an abbot, but is elected for a shorter period– three years in this case.
Fr. John Paul Mwaniki- OSB, was born on the 29th of May, 1967, in Kitale- Kenya. From 1988 he studied at University of Nairobi and in 1991 was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Religious Studies). From 1994 he studied at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) for his Post-Graduate Diploma in Education of which he was awarded in 1995. In 1995 he worked as a qualified teacher (on voluntary basis) at Queen of Apostles Junior Seminary, in Nairobi, Kenya.
He studied theology (1998 to 2001) in South Africa at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute (then-affiliated to Urbaniana Pontifical University, Rome- Italy) after which he was awarded a Diploma in Theological Studies (St. Joseph’s Theological Institute) and Bachelor of Sacred Theology (Urbaniana Pontifical University).
He made his Solemn Profession as a Benedictine monk of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien on the 1st of January, 2000, at the Prince of Peace Benedictine Priory, Tigoni (Kenya). He was ordained deacon on the 6th of December, 2000, in Inkamana abbey. In august 2001 he did a short course for Clinical Pastoral Education Grey’s Hospital (PMB) in South Africa. He was ordained Priest on the 15th of December, 2001, in Prince of Peace Benedictine Priory, Tigoni (Kenya).
From 2002 to 2005 he served as Novice Master of the Benedictine Priory in Tigoni (Kenya). In 2003 he went to Rome for a short Course of Monastic Formators in Rome (Italy). From 2005 to 2007 he was Parish Priest of St. Benedict’s Parish Ruaraka and Director of St. Benedict Primary School, (Nairobi- Kenya). At the same time also Superior of Ruaraka Benedictine Community and Assistant Dean of Ruaraka Deanery (Archdiocese of Nairobi). In 2008 he was the Parish Priest of Illeret Catholic Parish (Marsabit Diocese, Kenya) and Superior of Illeret Benedictine Community. He was an Assisting Parish Priest of North Horr Catholic Mission (Marsabit Diocese) in 2009.
In 2010 he was Rector/Superior of Benedictine Study House in Cedara (South Africa) and from 2011 to 2015 served as the Cellarer (Bursar/Finance Administrator) of Inkamana Abbey. From 2012 to February 2015 he also served Inkamana Abbey as Claustral Prior (prior claustralis) under then-Abbot Godfrey Sieber, OSB. He was elected Prior Administrator of Inkamana Abbey on the 10th of February, 2015. It is our prayer and hope that the divine assistance may always remain with him in his new assignment as Superior of Inkamana Abbey.