Friars Paul Njuguna KIARIE and Timothy Mwanjala MACHILA of the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Kenya have had the grace and joy of fully sharing their religious and formative journey together.
After obtaining their bachelor’s degree in philosophy, they were sent to Rome in 2012, to further their studies in theology at the Seraphicum International College. After completing three-years of theological studies at the Seraphicum, they were offered the opportunity to earn an advanced academic degree. Friar Paul enrolled at the Pontifical Institute for Patristic Studies “Augustinianum” and Friar Timothy studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Their licentiate programs followed the same timeline because both programs included a propaedeutic year, which was necessary for adequate preparation in the disciplines related to their individual educational curricula.
After earning their licentiate degrees in 2018, they enrolled in the PhD programs at their respective universities and in their particular fields of study, namely, Patrology and Church History. For this new stage of their education, after six years of living at the Seraphicum, both friars moved to the Friary of St. Anthony at the Baths [“Vigna Antoniana”] where, after four years of intense and diligent work, they finally realized their hoped-for dream.
On April 26, 2022, Friar Paul defended his doctoral thesis entitled, “Chromatius of Aquileia: Exegesis and Doctrine in His Sermons and Tractates on Matthew” and thus obtained the Degree of Doctor of Patrology. He briefly describes the subject of his thesis: “My research was focused on Chromatius of Aquileia, particularly his exegesis and doctrine. In my first chapter, I contextualized him and his works. Next, I introduced his doctrinal exegesis. In the second chapter, I discussed his teaching on the relationships within the Trinity. In the third chapter, I presented his teaching on the second person of the Trinity and his incarnation. Finally, in the fourth chapter, I presented Chromatius’ teaching on mankind, whose salvation was the main reason for his doing his exegesis, teaching and refuting heresies.”
Friar Timothy, on the other hand, defended his doctoral thesis exactly one month later, on May 26, 2022, with a dissertation entitled, “The Impact of Propaganda Fide in the Work of Evangelization and Resolving Territorial Disputes: A Case Study of the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Consolata Missionaries in Kenya, 1902-1931.” In the end, he was proclaimed a Doctor of Church History. He gives a brief description of the subject of his thesis: “This research work reconstructed the impact that the evangelization work of Propaganda Fide had in the British colony of Kenya during the territorial disputes between the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Consolata Missionaries. It also explored the internal motivations for these disputes and examined the role that Propaganda Fide played in resolving these disputes. My study also examined the method of evangelization used by Propaganda Fide and the dynamics and strategies the missionaries used to implement this method during the period of controversy. Particular attention was given to the study of languages; the institution of the African clergy and African nuns; and, in particular, the progress made in education—the focal point of the Apostolic Visit. My research also examined the successes, failures and challenges faced by Propaganda Fide, the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Consolata Missionaries in the work of evangelization in Kenya. It also analyzed the relationships between the missionaries themselves and the Kenyan people. Finally, the dissertation addressed the contribution made by African Christian witnesses during the period of controversy and colonial rule.”
On the day that each friar defended his thesis, the friars of the Friary of St. Anthony at the Baths held a celebration in the courtyard of the friary. They welcomed friars from the other General Houses in Rome as well as friends who came from far away to attend this happy event and to support the doctoral candidates.
We wish Friars Paul and Timothy all the best in religious life. May their research bear much fruit.
The fraternity of St. Anthony at the Baths