‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you already’ Mt. 25:34
On Saturday December 14, 2019, at about 12:45 pm, on the memorial of St. John of the Cross, Almighty God called our beloved Frt. Efrem Mwinuka OSB to eternal rest at Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza Archdiocese where he was admitted for treatment.
The late Frt. Efrem Mwinuka OSB was born on 16 August 1953 in the Diocese of Njombe at Madunda Parish. The parents are Abraham Mwinuka and Paulina Haule. He was baptized on 30 August 1953 and received confirmation on 24 October 1966.
In 1963, Frt. Efrem started his primary education at Madunda and completed standard seven in 1970. After completing his primary level of education, he joined Benedictine monastic life at St. Maurus Abbey Hanga in 1972 as a candidate and after one year was elevated into postulancy in 1973. Two years later, from 1974 to 1975, he was a novice; and on 11 July 1976 he made his first profession in monastic life. Our confrere continued well his monastic formation until 1982 when the community approved his request and made his final vows.
In 1977, before his secondary education, he was a postulant master , and in 1978, Frt. Efrem was sent to Maua Minor Seminary in Moshi-Kilimanjaro for secondary education, beginning from Form One up to Form Six, from which he graduated in May 1984. After his secondary education, he returned to the monastery and was assigned as in-charge of the garden and planting of fruit trees. In October 1984, the authority of Hanga Abbey sent him to Kipalapala-Tabora to the Tanganyika Mission Press (TMP), printing and binding departments, which belongs to the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) and was made an in-charge of the Press. To gain more skills in printing and binding, he was sent to Munsterschwarzach, Germany for a three-year course in 1987 and became well trained, acquainted to the maximum in that particular field. In 1990 he came back and continued with his duty until 1992 when he was appointed to be the head and administrator of the department. As a director, he performed his responsibilities very well, very capably and with love, till December 4, 2019 when he felt unwell and that very day was taken to Kitete Region Hospital. He was then transferred to Bugando Referral Hospital for further medical treatment.
His Profile: The late Frt. Efrem Mwinuka OSB loved his vocation which was reflected very much in how he lived his monastic vows. He was meek and humble but with intransigence in his right decision; a man of love and peace to everyone. This was reflected in his beautiful words which he always used to say: “Peace starts with a smile.” He valued the dignity of human beings at all levels, loved his workers and maintained a good relationship with all. He was an expert in computer management and thus resourceful. His products embraced the interests of many customers; he was intelligent in his work. Despite his meekness and humble character, the late was also hospitable to the old, the sick and disabled. He organized the group of young men to dig boreholes in order to get clean water for the well-being of the people around and was also responsible for burying the dead. Then, the group was nicknamed the “STONE GROUP”. He helped the villagers in innovating the infrastructures of the Kipalapala primary school, but also encouraged and insisted, now and then, on building strong and good houses for their families. With all those mentioned, the late also had the virtue of patience. He did all with faith and love following the example of St. Theresa of Calcutta whom he mentioned frequently as his role model. May God grant him everlasting life.
Throughout his life Frt. Efrem Mwinuka OSB never complained about his health. It was on 3 December 2019, early in the morning, that he felt unusual and uncomfortable. Then immediately he informed his confreres and as soon as possible arrangements were made for him to be taken to Tabora Regional Hospital-Kitete. The first checkups showed signs of prostate cancer, but the doctors did not operate on him. Instead , they decided to refer him to Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza region for further investigation.
While in Bugando hospital, the doctors discovered there were concussions of the heart which resulted in the expansion of the blood vessels or veins. The doctors tried to help him but their struggle never worked out. Eventually blood vessels started bursting causing internal bleeding. That situation led to a coma and he lost consciousness. While still under the care of the doctors, almighty God called him to his everlasting life on Saturday, 14 December 2019, at 12:45 pm in Bugando Referral Hospital-Mwanza. Our beloved confrere Frt. Efrem Mwinuka OSB died at the age of 66, and 43 years of his monastic life.
Grant him everlasting joy, 0 Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon him so that he may rest in eternal peace. Amen.
The Eucharistic Celebration for the funeral and burial was held on December 19, 2019.
— Abbot Octavian and the Community of Hanga Abbey