Recent News

Events and happenings

Benebikira "Back to School" Event on September 21st in Chicago

Help the Scholarship Board kick off our campaign to sponsor 370 students at Our Lady of the Angels School in Kigali, Rwanda. The event will take place on Saturday, September 21st from 6-10PM at The Rooftop of 600 N Fairbanks Court, 41st Floor. Tickets are $40, and all proceeds will be used to fund student scholarships. Beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres are included in the ticket price, and the event will feature music, a raffle, and a silent auction.

To purchase tickets to the event, please click here.

To make a donation to the event, please click here.

October 2012: Benebikira Sisters Foundation seeks new Executive Director

The Benebikira Sisters Foundation is currently searching for a new Executive Director to lead the foundation's daily operations, fundraising initiatives, and efforts to raise awareness about the Benebikira Sisters' work in Rwanda. For more information, click here.

September 2012: Benebikira "Back to School" Event on September 27th in Chicago

The Benebikira Sisters Foundation Scholarship Board will host its annual "Back to School" event on September 27th from 6-8pm at the David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago, featuring the exhibit Spent: Portraits of the Exhausted. The Scholarship Board's goal is to sponsor each student at Our Lady of the Angels School in Kigali, Rwanda for the 2013 school year, which starts in January. Sister Anna, Principal of the School, and Mother Thierry, Mother General of the Benebikira Sisters, will be at the event to speak about the growth of Our Lady of the Angels and the Benebikira mission in Rwanda.

To make a donation to the event, please click here.

July 2011: BSF Receives Two Majors Grants

This year, BSF completed the construction of a grades 4-6 elementary classroom building thanks to a multitude of generous grants and individual donations. The building comprises two stories and four academic classrooms. Our Lady of the Angels Schools now has 246 students enrolled in grades pre-k through six. The School continues to be self-sustaining and run by the Benebikira Sisters.  As we continue to find new partners, the self-sustainability of the Benebikira ministry is an attractive lure for benefactors.

Going forward, BSF needs to complete fundraising on a grades 7-9 classroom building and to begin the construction of a secondary school at Our Lady of the Angels. Thanks to two large grants from the Raskob and Koch Foundations and a number of private donations, BSF has raised $90,000 toward its goal.  In addition to five classrooms, the building will house the first computer lab, science lab and library. BSF and members of the school community are very excited about these additions. The Foundation hopes to reach its fundraising goal by January 2012, which is the beginning of the Rwandan school year.

January 2011: All Students Sponsored at Our Lady of the Angels for 2011

Thank you to everyone who sponsored a student, class, or group of students for the 2011 school year in Rwanda.  We would like to announce that we have successfully sponsored every student at Our Lady of the Angels in Kigali, Rwanda.  This year, we will be writing all of our sponsors with a half-year update in late Spring/early Summer, so stay tuned with news from the students you have sponsored.  Thank you for your generosity and solidarity as the Benebikira Sisters continue to educate the future leaders of Rwanda.

December 2010: The Benebikira Sisters featured in National Catholic Reporter

The Benebikira Sisters, upon having received the Courage for Conscience Award, were featured in the National Catholic Reporter.  To read the article highlighting the Sisters' work in Rwanda, click here.

October 2010: The Benebikira Sisters receive Courage of Conscience Award

The Benebikira Sisters Foundation is pleased to announce that the Benebikira Sisters, a religious congregation native to Rwanda, received the notable Courage of Conscience Award presented at the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts on Sunday, September 26, 2010. The award was presented to the Sisters for their heroic and courageous activities during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and for their widespread work with orphans, widows and those affected by the Genocide. Other notable past recipients of this award have been Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Upon receiving the award, Sister Junvenal Mukamurama, former Mother General of Benebikira Sisters, told the Sisters’ story during the genocide: “During the years before the genocide and during the 100 days of horror, we were called to stand up. For us as nuns and disciples of Christ, this meant that we had to put our congregation at risk of being killed for the refusal to separate into Hutu and Tutsi and for our insistence on sheltering those seeking refuge.”

September 2010: "Back to School" Fundraiser

Each year, the Benebikira Sisters Foundation, in close partnership with the Benebikira Sisters in Rwanda, seeks to sponsor each student at Our Lady of the Angels School in Kigali, Rwanda. Please join us for our annual Back to School fundraiser hosted by the Benebikira Sisters Foundation Scholarship Board at David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago on September 23, 2010 from 6-8pm. Come have refreshments and appetizers and learn more about the daily life of students at Our Lady of the Angels. We will have updated video from the school and the "angels" who will be the future leaders of Rwanda. If you have any questions about the event or the foundation, email elaine.mueller@ignatius.org. To download the invitation, click here.

December, 2009: Sponsor a Benebikira student

One of the key initiatives of the Benebikira Sisters Foundation is to sponsor each student at Our Lady of the Angels School in Kigali Rwanda.  Last year, with the help of the Scholarship Board, the Foundation was able to sponsor all of the students at the school.  For just $50.00, you can sponsor a Benebikira student at Our Lady of the Angels.  As of December 9, 2009, the Scholarship Board has raised over $6,000 toward the goal of $14,000 needed to sponsor each student at the school. Thank you for considering sponsoring one of the future leaders of Rwanda.  To sponsor a student online, click here.

November, 2009: Benebikira Project featured in Boston College publication

The Benebikira Sisters' project the Ministry of Hope, Healing and Reconciliation was recently featured in Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry Publication in an article entitled "Healing the Wounds of War".  The project was funded by the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities in 2007 and seeks to train young adult Rwandans who seek to work for reconciliation in their respective communities.  To read the article, click here.

September, 2009: Our Lady of the Angels grades 4-6 building completed

This Fall, the Benebikira Sisters Foundation successfully completed the fundraising campaign for Our Lady of the Angels grades 4-6.  The campaign required over $90,000 of fundraising, which was reached with the generous help of individuals and family foundations from all over the United States.  The grades 4-6 building is now filled with eager students from Kigali, Rwanda who are receiving a values based, Catholic education from the Benebikira Sisters.  Thank you to all of our partners and sponsors who have been engaged with this exciting project.  In 2010, the Foundation will start its campaign for the building of the grades 7-9 at Our Lady of the Angels.

July, 2009: The Foundation hires a new Executive Director

Dear BSF Supporters and Benefactors: I hope this short letter finds you well at the beginning of summer. I am writing to update you on the exciting progress that the Benebikira Sisters Foundation has made in 2009 with the help of our larger community and share some news of transition.

The Benebikira Sisters’ school Our Lady of the Angels serves many families who wish to send their children to a strong, values-based Catholic school in Rwanda. Our Lady was originally a convent for the Benebikira Sisters, but with the partnership of the Benebikira Sisters Foundation, there now is a full campus at the school with grades 1-3 and ambitious young Rwandan students. Even in an economically challenging year, the Benebikira Sisters Foundation has been able to raise $70,000 of the $92,000 needed to the next school building which will house grades 4-6, opening in January 2010. The Board of Trustees is making a strong push this summer to raise the additional funds so that the grades 4-6 building can be erected for the beginning of the school in January 2010. With the help of many generous benefactors in Chicago and beyond, the Foundation has been able to keep tuition affordable for the students at Our Lady of the Angels. Looking forward to the next five years, the Benebikira Sisters hope to expand Our Lady of the Angels to become a full primary school and secondary school for Rwandan girls and boys.

I wanted to pass along the news that I have completed my service as Executive Director of the Benebikira Sisters Foundation. I will continue to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation and I am committed to being an advocate for the Benebikira Sisters and Rwandan people. It has been a pleasure and privilege to lead the Foundation for two years, see the growth of the organization and be a witness to the ways in which we have been able to aid the Benebikira Sisters’ projects in Rwanda.

This Spring, the Benebikira Board of Trustees conducted a national search for a new Executive Director to lead the Foundation’s work. After an extensive period of searching and interviewing, the board unanimously selected Elaine Mueller to be the next Executive Director of the Foundation. Elaine resides in Chicago and is an English teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep. Elaine formerly worked as the Dean of Students and Faculty Chaplain at the school as well. She brings a variety of skills to the job of Executive Director, namely directness, organization, collaboration and a passion for social justice. Elaine is currently in Rwanda working with the Sisters and visiting Our Lady of the Angels school. She will be in touch upon her arrival back in the States. Welcome, Elaine!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers in our mission to partner with the Benebikira Sisters in their powerful ministry in Rwanda.

Most sincerely, Timothy J. Wesley, Member, Board of Trustees

January 2009: Job Opening

The Benebikira Sisters Foundation is currently looking for a new Executive Director. After two years of generous service, Tim Wesley has stepped down from the position of Executive Director to join the Board of Directors for the Foundation. Please see the attached posting if you are interested; you may contact Brendan Kennealey at bkennealey@gmail.com with any questions. Click here to see the job posting.

October, 2008: Benebikira Scholarship Board kicks off scholarship program

The Benebikira Sisters Foundation recently formed the Benebikira Scholarship Board consisting of members from various US cities.  The board serves as “the branches” to find sponsors for all of the students at Our Lady of the Angels.  By January 1, 2009, the Benebikira Scholarship Board has set the goal raising $9,000 in order to keep tuition affordable for Rwandan families at Our Lady of the Angels.  Board members include:  Mark Borrelli (Chicago), Emily Cochran (Chicago), Jon Cofsky (Philadelphia), Kirby Doonan (Chicago), Jennifer Fieldman (Chicago), David Larabell (New York), Erin Luby (Chicago), D-Arcy Lynch (Chicago), Tim Martin (Chicago), Ali Nardali (New York), Lynne Ruozzi (Chicago), Kathy Svedman (Chicago), Brian Walsh (Boston), Kathleen Wesley (Chicago) and Chris Vamos (Chicago).

June, 2008: Boston College Professors will visit Rwanda for Reconciliation program

Boston College Professors Theresa O'Keefe and Father John Shea will visit Rwanda this summer to collaborate with Sister Anna Beata Murekatete on the Ministry of Hope, Healing and Reconciliation program. Professors Shea and O'Keefe will bring their expertise in pastoral ministry, religious education and counseling for trauma to the program. The Benebikira Sisters are looking forward to hosting them in the Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills.

January, 2008: Building on the primary school at Our Lady of the Angels begins

Thanks to the help of benefactors of the Benebikira Sisters Foundation, construction on Our Lady of the Angels school has started. The school will be built in three phases, and will educate students from pre-school through secondary school. The community in the Remera neighborhood of Kigali is urgently awaiting the building of the school so their children can receive a Catholic education from the Benebikira Sisters.

November, 2007: The Raskob Foundation funds the Ministry of Hope, Healing and Reconciliation program

The Ministry of Hope, Healing and Reconciliation program is the Benebikira Sisters is led by Sister Anna Beata Murekatete out of the capital city of Kigali, Rwanda. The Raskob Foundation in Wilmington, DE has generously awarded a grant for the first year of the program to cover the training of reconciliation workers in a faith-based program which is empowering Rwandan youth to initiate reconciliation efforts in their respective communities.

May, 2007: Sister Anna Beata Murekatete graduates from Boston College with a dual MA

Sister Anna Beata Murekatete graduates from Boston College with a dual MA in pastoral ministry and education. She was asked to represent the School of Arts and Sciences at the Boston College graduation. Sister Anna returns to Rwanda in June to initiate the Ministry of Hope, Healing and Reconciliation.


May, 2007: The Foundation forms partnership with filmmaker Saya Hillman, a rising fillmaker in Chicago

In April and May, the Benebikira Sisters Foundation had sucessful fundraisers at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA and 826chi's Boring Store in Chicago, IL. The event featured an introduction of the Foundation to the public as well as a screening of Saya Hillman's dating rubik's cube, an award-winning documentary. Hillman will travel to Rwanda in August of 2007 to make a promotional film for the Foundation, which will be featured on the web site.


March, 2007: The Foundation forms its diverse board of directors

After becoming incorporated as a foundation in Chicago, The Benebikira Sisters Foundation formed its Board of Directors. Founder Brendan Kennealey heads up the board with Sister Anna Beata Murekatete, Sister Juvenal Mukamurama, Ms. Sheila McLaughlin, and Timothy Wesley. The Foundation aims to expand its board over the course of the next year to 8-10 members.