It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai, LSMIG, ASEC Programs Coordinator in Uganda on Friday, September 4, 2020. Sr. Irene was hospitalized on August 21, 2020 for two weeks after contracting COVID-19.
Sr. Irene belongs to the community of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu (LSMIG) and has served in various missions of the Congregation for 33 years (1987-2020). She was a vibrant member of ASEC’s staff in Africa, where she began her tenure in October, 2016. Sr. Irene was also a member of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) Social Communications Commission and Radio Sapientia Board representing Gulu Ecclesiastical Province.
As a trained counselor and communicator, Sr. Irene used her gifts to serve God and His people with great love and honor. She was a dedicated religious woman, known by many for her characteristic big smile, cheerful personality, warm heart, gentleness and kindness.
Sr. Irene also established the World of Princesses Ministry, with the goal to empower and emancipate African girls and young women in the Ecclesiastical province of the Archdiocese of Gulu, based at Nebbi Catholic Diocese in Alur Subregion of northwestern Uganda.
On Monday, September 7, 2020, Sr. Irene’s funeral service was broadcast online. We are grateful for the technology that allowed many ASEC staff members to attend her service. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sr. Irene’s congregation, family, friends and all who were blessed to know her. May she rest in eternal peace in the glory of God.
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I am very sorry for the death of our beloved Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai. It is very painful to lose a member but we should never forget that we are visitors on this planet. It is only our Creator who knows for how long and how we are going to leave this world. We are grateful to the Lord because He gave Sr. Irene Lucy time to be with us as a role model and in action she taught us what we are here for, she was able to listen and to live her call to last minute. I believe she is happy in heaven because she was not shy to present what she has completed on earth. We hope she will pray for us and ask our Lord to stop this pandemic. May her soul rest in peace. -Sr. Monica Moeketsi, Secretary General
We the members of the SLDI /HESA Alumni association of Nigeria wish to commiserate with you our dear director and all ASEC family on the loss of one of your staff Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai, LSMIG. In this time of grief we pray that the good Lord will console the ASEC family and all who are greatly affected by her demise. May the God whom she served so faithfully while on earth reward her with eternal life. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace. -Sr. Juliana Idoko, OP, President and Sr. Chika Dibia, PHJC, Secretary of SLDI/HESA Alumni Association, Nigeria
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon her. We love you, but God Loves you more! Please accept our condolences on the demise of Sr. Irene. May her gentle soul rest in peace with the Lord. Amen. -Safiya Atta Mansoor, SLDI Facilitator, Nigeria
With heavy hearts, but in total submission to the will of God, the Leadership Team and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Nigeria Province, commiserate with you, Sr. Mary Cecilia Draru, the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu and the entire African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) Directors, on the demise of your beloved Sister, Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai, LSMIG, the past ASEC Programs Coordinator, Uganda who passed on to eternal glory. We thank God for the gift she was to the Congregation, humanity and her contributions and service to the ASEC Programs. Our hearts go to you in prayers during this time of bereavement. May the good God grant you all His consolation and grant the deceased eternal rest in His Kingdom! With Love and Prayers, -Sr. Fidelia Chukwu, SNDdeN (Provincial Moderator) and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
On behalf of the AOSK fraternity, our condolence to the family of Sr. Irene, Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu (LSMIG) and ASEC community, may God give you courage to bear the loss. God rest her soul in eternal peace. Amen. -Sr. Pasilisa N. Namikoye, LSOSF
This is shocking and very sad news. Condolences to the family and the congregation of Sr. Irene Lucy. The whole ASEC community will remember and miss her joy and warmth. May she rest in Peace. -Beatrice Churu
I am deeply saddened by the news of Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai's demise. I pray that God will grant her family and the ASEC fraternity strength and courage to bear this unexpected loss. My most sincere condolences. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul rest in peace. Amen. -Moses Muchai
On behalf of the Management, staff and students of Veritas University, I write to express our heartfelt condolences to you and your Congregation over the passing away of Rev. Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai, who until her passing away was the Programs Coordinator - Uganda. No doubt, this must be a period of deep grief for you and your Congregation. However, we urge you to take consolation in the promise of the resurrection by our Lord Jesus Christ, believing that her perseverance to her Christian faith will win her the crown of eternal glory. Once again, on behalf of the entire Veritas community, please accept our condolences, and be assured of our prayers for the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and for the repose of her soul. May the soul of Late Rev. Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen! Yours sincerely, -Rev. Fr. Prof. Hyacinth E. Ichoku, Vice-Chancellor of Veritas University, Abuja
My deepest condolences to the entire congregation. May her soul and all the faithful departed in the Mercy of the Lord rest in Perpetual Piece. Amen. -Monica Nkrumah, HESA Liaison, Ghana
ASEC family, sorry for the death of our beloved Sr. Irene Onyai. We will really miss her and her smiles. May her soul rest in peace. -Sr. Sabina Thupa, AWRIM
I wish to register my heartfelt condolences to ASEC family especially, Sr. Germina, for the demise of Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai who has been our ASEC coordinator in Uganda.We have been working closely with her and we shall miss her humility and smile, may her soul rest in eternal peace. Regards, Kamya Richard, St. Francis Hospital Nsambya Training School, Uganda
This is very sad news. I join the entire ASEC family in prayer for her. May the face of Jesus whom she served tirelessly shine on her. RIP Sr. Irene. -Sr. Tumaini Bakalemwa, Mwenge Catholic University, Tanzania
We deeply express our condolences to Sr. Mary Cecilia Draru, LSMIG, the Executive Director of ASEC, the Superior General of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Guru and their entire sisters over the painful demise of our beloved Sr. Irene. We also condole with her biological Family and ASEC Family. May the soul of our beloved Sr. Irene Rest In Peace Amen. -Sr. Augustina Okoroafor, SSH, Nigeria
My heartfelt condolences to the entire family. May her soul rest in the bosom of the Lord. -Daniel Obeng-Ofori, Vice Chancellor - Catholic University College of Ghana
It is heartbreaking to hear about the passing on of our beloved Sr. Irene Lucy. May her soul Rest In Peace. I join her community and the entire ASEC family in prayer for her. May the face of Jesus whom she served tirelessly shine on her. May God in a very special way console her immediate family and religious community members. RIP Sr. Irene. With love and prayer, Sr Chrispina Lekule
At a time like this it seems that Sr. Irene has gone forever, but as Christians, we believe she has gone ahead to meet her heavenly spouse, our Lord Jesus Christ where we shall be united with her on the resurrection day when our Lord Jesus Christ will wipe away all tears and bring together all his children at the Banquet Feast Of Heaven. So we enjoin you, the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu and ASEC family to wipe your tears, take heart and be consoled by the Heroic Sacrificial life Sr. Irene lived on earth. She has only gone to rest in the land where she will neither experience pain nor die again. Indeed, she is resting with better smiles. -Mother Mary Claude Oguh, IHM, President, NCWR
Condolences! Please accept my sincere condolences on the death of Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai. LSMIG, one of the sisters that your congregation is proud of An influential, happy, lively sister with an infectious laughter is gone to come back no more! Adieu Sr Irene Lucy Onyai, LSMIG. Sleep in arms of your spouse to whom your life was dedicated. Sleep Sweetly and in peace, but live forever in our hearts. We shall always remember to pray for the repose of your beautiful soul. ASEC USA & Uganda will miss you! LSMIG will miss you! ARU will miss you! UEC Social Communications will miss you! World of Princesses Ministry will miss you! Radio Sapientia will miss you. Sr. Juliana Osiyemi, EHJ, Nigeria
We heard of the death of one of your Sisters who was a staff member of ASEC and a cohort of your religious life. I am very sorry for such a loss. As we pray for eternal rest for her, we also pray for consolation for your congregation and her biological family. Please stay strong. -Sr. Faustina, SHJ, Ghana
My deepest condolences to the Religious Family of Sr. Irene Lucy. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace. -Sr. Carine
Greetings in the name of our Lord. Sr. Draru, our condolences for the loss of our Ugandan Coordinator. We write to assure you, your congregation and ASEC African Team of our prayers for the loss. It must be devastating but God knows why HE has to call her to HIMSELF. May HE grant her Eternal resting place with HIM and comfort you all. Be consoled Sr. Draru. -Abraham & Helen Chunu
I’m sorry to hear about the death of Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai. May she rest in everlasting peace. I offer my prayers to you and your community. -Kathleen Lunsmann, IHM
I am so sorry to hear this news. Sister was a positive presence and a wonderful program coordinator. May she now experience the fullness of God’s love and life. Prayers for her family and you and your sisters. Blessings! -Kathy Dougherty, OSF
I am so sorry to hear about the death of dear Sr. Irene. A member of your congregation, ASEC program coordinator and a member of your cohort makes this news especially sad for you. Her picture portrays a beautiful person with a beautiful smile – happy in our God. Know of my thoughts and prayers for you, for your Congregation and for ASEC during this time. Blessings and prayers, Sr. Lisa Olivieri, SSJ
This is sad news. I will remember Sr. Irene fondly for her generosity and kindness as she introduced me to the wonderful work of ASEC in Uganda in the summer of 2019. My experiences on that trip were both enjoyable and deeply meaningful, due in no small part to Sr. Irene’s work and daily presence. Please extend my condolences to those close to her. In sadness, Jim Sullivan
Sad news indeed. We have lost a special woman in our ASEC program in Uganda. May Sr Irene rest in Eternal Peace. Let us continue to keep safe. Together in thoughts and prayers. -Sr. Hellen Bandiho, STH
My deepest condolences. I’m so sorry to hear about Sr. Irene’s passing. The Hilton team appreciated her work to make the ASEC program a success in Uganda. I believe I met Sr. Irene when I was in Uganda in Dec. 2018. May the Lord fortify you, the ASEC team and her community. May Sr. Irene rest in peace. -Angelique Mutombo
I am so sorry to hear about the untimely death of Sr. Irene. I cherish her commitment and the endearing support she provided to the HESA and SLDI participants in Uganda. Please convey our condolences to the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate, ASEC members, and her family. May she rest in eternal peace. -Sr. Jane Wakahiu, LSOSF
My deepest sympathy to you, Sr. Draru, and to your congregation. What a loss to our world. Know I am holding you in prayer. -Sr. Kate McCarron, OSF
Dear Sr. Draru, I'm very sorry about Sr. Irene's death. It is a grave loss for ASEC, but especially for your congregation and for you personally. To lose someone from your own cohort is especially painful, even more so when the death is of someone young and active. We at Shalom House will have all of you in our prayers. -Sr. Margaret Gannon, IHM
Sr Draru and all, My very hearty condolences to you and all the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate for the untimely and sad passing on of Sr Irene Onyai. May her soul rest in eternal peace and presence of God. I will miss her passion for this life but shall remain connected with her through faith in the never-ending passion for the full life that is God. Peace! With much hope and faith, -Pius Ojara
Dear Sr. Draru, Thank you for passing on this sad news. I am so distressed that COVID‐19 has taken one of our beloved sisters working for ASEC. The news must be especially hard for you since she was someone close to you in your congregational cohort. My heartfelt condolences go out to you in this time of grieving. Sr. Irene will be in my prayers in the coming days, and you are correct, there is no doubt that she is with our beloved Lord in heaven. All my best to you, -Jacki Reich
I was shocked and truly saddened to hear of Sr. Irene Lucy's death. I met her at the staff development in Tanzania in 2017 and I remember her as a creative and committed staff member, lively and outgoing, and filled with interesting ideas for ASEC. What a tremendous loss for ASEC, and for you, a personal loss too. I hadn't remembered that she was a member of your congregation. I send my condolences to you, to your congregation, to her family, and to all of the ASEC staff, especially her Uganda colleagues. May she rest in peace in the loving bosom of Mary and Jesus. -Bríghid Blake
I am so sorry for the loss of Sr Irene Lucy Onyai. My prayers for peace are with you and the greater ASEC community. Peace to you. -Jayson Boyers
Dear Sr. Draru, How sad it is to hear about the passing on of Sr. Irene. My deepest condolences to you and all the sisters, and may her soul rest in peace. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. -Regina Zoot, SHCJ
Sr. Draru, I am so sorry to hear of this very sad loss. Be assured of my prayer for you and your Congregation, and all those touched by Sr. Irene. -Sr. Maureen Erdlen, SSJ
I am sorry to hear of the loss of Sr. Irene. May she Rest In Peace. -Sr. Carroll Juliano, SHCJ
I'm so sorry for the death of Sr. Irene. What a huge loss for all. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all her sisters. Love, Sr. Ellen Maroney, IHM
I am so sorry to hear of Sr. Irene's passing. She was a wonderful person who I got to know in my many trips to Uganda. She will be sorely missed. -Jane Farr
Dear Sr. Draru, I express my sincere sorrow and sympathy for your loss of Sr. Irene, not only a loss for ASEC, but Also a loss of someone whom you have known over many, many years. I know this must be very difficult for you. It is especially hard because you are so far away and not able to be present for her funeral and burial. Please know that I will keep you and your congregation in my prayers as you grieve the loss of this dear sister. Peace and blessings. -Sr. Carol Jean Vale, SSJ
Dear Sr Draru, I am so sorry to hear this news. You are in my prayers as you remember the many memories of being with Sr Irene Lucy over the years. May the memories lighten your sorrow. I will keep your congregation, ASEC and sister’s family in prayer. May you be assured Sr Irene is resting in the living arms of God. Resting in Peace Let me know if you need anything. Blessings. -Sr. Florence Hee, OSF
Dear Sr. Draru, I am so very sorry to hear about Sr. Irene Lucy's untimely death. What a shock to you and your community, as well as all those she touched through ASEC. I did not have an opportunity to meet Sr. Irene but I feel so connected with your congregation since my first visit in 2008, the warm welcome and celebration stays with me to this day. Love, Sr. Kathryn Miller, SSJ
My deepest sympathies to you all: the LSMIG, the family and ASEC Africa. I am just in shock. May God reward Sr. Irene and grant her eternal peace. -Sr. Nancy Kamau, LSOSF
I am so very sorry and devastated. May Sr Irene Rest In Peace... my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. This is such a tragic loss for all who were blessed to know and love her. -Jaime Herrmann
This is a devastating loss for ASEC and for all of us personally. Sr. Irene was such a bright light for us all. May God bless her and receive her into His Kingdom. My prayers are with her family, congregation, and her closest coworker, Sr. Germina at this difficult time. -Kim Scalese
I am in shock and just devastated. I can’t believe it. Sr. Irene was such a wonderful and caring person. My prayers are with her family and congregation. I’m so sorry for your loss Sr. Germina. -Tara Lopatofsky
Sr. Irene may your Maker receive you home safely. -Sr. Francisca Damoah, SIJ
This is so sad. May God grant Sr. Irene eternal rest. Praying for the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu, the biological family, friends, students and all the people of God who shared life with our dear Sr. Irene. Sr. Draru, please accept my sympathy. -Sr. Veronica Fatoyinbo, SNDdeN
This is so heavy to take in, we pray for God’s consolation on her family members, ARU, all LSMIG, ASEC staff and all her loved ones. Sr Irene Lucy Onyai, I will miss you. May Christ your beloved spouse, grant you eternal life. Sr Draru, please be consoled, this is a difficult time, God’s strength on you. -Sr. Clare Abisola Adelakun, DHS
So sorry to hear such sad news. My deepest condolences, may she rest in peace. -Melissa Frein
This is tragic and shocking news. I’m so sorry for the loss of Sr. Irene. She was always kind and thoughtful and I am happy to have known her. My sincerest condolences are with her family, friends, congregation, and Sr. Germina. I will miss her presence at ASEC, along with the staff and all the students she touched in life. -Rosemary Shaver
I am speechless to say the least. l wanted to tell myself it is not the Sr. Irene that l know. May God rest her soul in eternal peace. To you Sr. Draru, Sr. Germina, the congregation and her biological family, my most sincere condolences. -Sr. Kevin Karimi, LSOSF
Sr. Irene we will miss you. You were a role model, a real servant of God. May the Lord reward you. Console the entire family, congregation and ARU. God has taken one of us to intercede for ASEC May the peaceful soul of Sr. Irene Lucy rest in eternal peace. -Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS
I am so shocked and saddened to hear we've lost Sr Irene. I can hardly believe it's true, as we were just praying for her recovery this morning. When I think of her I see her bright smile, her radiant personality and her dedication to uplifting her fellow sisters. We were all blessed to know her. My deep condolences to Sr Irene's congregation, her family, Sr Germina, Sr Draru and to all who knew and loved her. She will be deeply missed. -Jennifer Mudge
I am so sorry for the loss of our wonderful Sr. Irene. She will be truly missed. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with her in my first year with ASEC. I will be thinking and praying for all of us who are suffering this tremendous loss. -Shelby Ohotnicky
It is so shocking hence lost for words. Sr. Irene,rest in peace! -Sr Lina Wanjiku, SE
Sr. Irene do rest in the Lord's bosom and thanks for the life we shared! -Sr. Clarisse Remjika Jaiwo, SST
I am so sorry to hear of this terrible loss! I only wish I had the chance to meet the woman you all speak so fondly of. My heart and thoughts go to all those who crossed paths with her and are hurting, especially the ASEC community. -Amanda Tyrrell
My heartfelt condolence and consolation goes to Sr. Irene’s family, Sr. Draru, Sr. Germina and the entire congregation. May our beloved Sr. Irene Lucy Rests in Peace! We will always remember your good smile and gentle heart. With prayers, Sr. Maria Telesphora, COLU
Sr. Irene my Angel. You Fought the fight and you Finished the Race. May your Spouse whom you Served with such Great Passion and Love receive you into His Heavenly Kingdom. My sincere condolences to Sr. Draru, Sr. Germina, LSMIG, ARU, her biological family and friends. Rest in Perfect Peace my Sweet, Gentle, Smiling Irene Lucy. Union in Prayer. -Sr. Mbom MaryCleophas Afumbom, SUSC
I can’t imagine what you must be feeling Sr. Germina, Sr. Draru, the Congregation, and the entire family. I pray that God will grant you strength. My most sincere condolence. May Sr. Irene rest in peace. -Sr. Hilaria Chombo, SBVM
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Sr. Irene. I wish I had gotten the chance to know her, but can tell that she was an extremely kind woman from all of your words. My thoughts are with you all and all others who knew her. -Emily Culligan
I am saddened to hear about the loss of Sr. Irene. I wish I had the opportunity to meet her, but I know she must have been a warm, wonderful woman from the sentiments you have all shared. My thoughts are with her family, congregation, and all those who had the pleasure of knowing her. -Samantha Glosser
Please accept my sincere condolences. Sr. Irene will be missed by all who knew her. You're all in my thoughts and prayers. -Amy Fedele
This is shocking news!!! Sr. Irene, I will miss your wonderful smile and warm heart. Sr. Irene may you rest in peace. -Sr. Joyce Karambu, NSA
This is such shocking news and a tragic loss. May her soul rest in peace.My deepest condolences to all her near and dear ones. -Sneh Akruvala
My dear Sr. Irene .... Rest On With the Lord Your Maker. May He welcome you with the reward of the Warm Smile that is so characteristic of you and a Warm Embrace into eternal life. -Sr. Joyce Kwamboka Nyakwama, SSND
Really our beloved Sr. Irene has gone. May God reward her for the gift of her talents and services to God's people. Let keep each other in prayers as we are still on the journey of life. -Sr. M. Tryphina Burchard, STH
A Short Life History of Rev. Sr. Mary Irene Lucy Onyai
Rev. Sr. Mary Irene Lucy Onyai was born on 5th day of November 1962 to Mr. Secondo Ominzi and Karmela Fuathum, Alur from Angai Parish, Nebbi Catholic Diocese. She was Baptized on 29th September 1963.
Rev. Sr. Mary Irene Lucy Onyai joined the congregation of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu in 1984 as an aspirant and became a postulant the same year. On 5th January 1985 she joined the Novitiate Canonical year. She completed her 2nd year of novitiate in 1986 when she decided to commit herself to God. She made her first Religious profession in the family of the LSMIG on 6th January 1994. She made her Final Vows on 6th January 1994. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee in Religious Life in 2012.
Rev. Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai joined the convent after S.4. One year after her First Profession, she went back to school for her A Level in War Girls Senior School. In 1991 she joined Nyegezi Social Institute in Tanzania, training in journalism. From 1999 to 2003, she was in Rome pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Communications
From 1996 to 1997, Sr. Irene Lucy worked as the In-Charge of Youth in Cassinnetta, Archdiocese of Milan (Italy).
In 2004, she was posted to Holy Rosary to work in Radio Maria - Gulu. In 2006, she was transferred to Bishop Kihangire Community to work in Radio Maria - Kampala up to 2011, when the congregation requested her to serve in the Generalate in the Social Communication Desk of the Congregation. In 2013, she was transferred to Nebbi Community as Director in the Diocesan Ofﬁce where she worked in Radio Maria - Nebbi and at the same time a Superior in the House. She started “World of Princesses” for girls in Nebbi Catholic Diocese.
She was a Board Member of the Radio Sapientia at Uganda Catholic Secretariat and at the same time, a Board Member of the Social Communication Department of the Uganda Episcopal Conference as well as a Member of the Gulu Ecclesiastical Province Social Communication Department. She was the First Journalist in the Congregation.
From 2017 up to the time the Lord called her, she was working at ARU (Association of Religious in Uganda) department of ASEC (African Sisters Education Collaborative) as the Country Programs Coordinator.
Her Outstanding Virtues
Rev. Sr. Mary Irene Lucy Onyai was prayerful, obedient, always with a smile on her face. She had great love for the congregation, creative, innovative, social, loving and motherly. She had concern for the vulnerable and she was a good listener and compassionate.
We praise and thank God for the Gift of Rev. Sr. Mary Irene Lucy Onyai in her family, in the congregation, ASEC family and in the world at large. Sr. Irene, we have come to say goodbye though without viewing your body. We know you are here in spirit. Truly, you have served God dedicatedly as a Little Sister of Mari Immaculate of Gulu and as ASEC programs coordinator in Uganda. And you have accomplished what God wanted you to be and to do.
May God Rest your soul in Eternal Peace.