Sr. Maria Goretti Sanyu was born in Kampala to Peter Kiwanuka and Dorothy Lunkuse and grew up in Bbina and Mbuya. She went to AMKA Classic Primary for her primary studies and was admitted to AMKA Classic secondary school for her Ordinary Level. There after she went to Lakeside College Luzira; a Seventh Day Adventist founded school, for her Advanced Level.
While at Lakeside College Luzira, she almost got compromised by the new religion she was exposed to. She was only fortunate to have been introduced to the Comboni Missionary Sisters earlier and she had already shown interest in joining the mission while still at her former school, AMKA Classic. At AMKA, she got regular visits from Sr Sabina, the Vocation Directress by then.
Sr Sabina did not only stop at visiting her at AMKA but also went on to visit her at Lakeside College Luzira, which encouraged and strengthened her faith. On many occasions, she and other girls would visit and live with the Comboni Sisters for two weeks every school holidays. Sr Sabina had also her that she could only join the mission after completion of senior six.
Although she had shown interest in joining religious life, her father was not in support of it. He always told her that the responsibilities she had in Church were enough and she did not have to become a religious Nun. Her mother on the other hand encouraged her to follow her dream, despite the fact that she was not catholic; she was so happy about it.
Earlier, she had been exposed to the Comboni missionary family of Priests and sisters since she had grown up at St Zuria Sub-Parish, an affiliate of Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. She was a choir member at St Zuria and a secretary of the youth group at Our Lady of Africa.
After senior six, she joined YMCA Comprehensive Institute for a two year diploma course in accounting. After the diploma, she joined the Congregation of the Comboni Missionary Sisters and was sent to Kenya for Postulancy in 2015 until 2017. Then After, returned to Uganda where she moved to Namugongo for Novitiate from 2017 to 2018. In 2019, she said her first vows in Namugongo. She was later posted for her first mission to Ecuador the same year.
On her way to Ecuador, she stayed in Italy for three months waiting for a visa, she got an opportunity to visit the Mother house of the Comboni Missionary Sisters in Verona and the Vatican. When she reached Ecuador, she went to live in a town called Quito for six months studying Spanish. After her Spanish lessons, she was sent to San Lorenzo for mission.
In San Lorenzo, Sr. Sanyu is working with Children, youth and women. She works with Young Missionaries, teaching them to be missionaries among themselves and other children. She is helping with catechesis in San Lorenzo. She said some people in San Lorenzo don’t know how to pray. With her colleagues, they help the people to participate during Mass by using the correct responses, preparing them for baptism and Holy Communion and other sacraments.
Sr. Sanyu not only works with the youth in Ecuador but she has taken it upon herself to reach out to the youth in every corner of the world. She is the founder of Inspiring Catholic youth, a group she is using to reach out to many Catholic youth who are not so confident of their faith. She is using social media handles like Facebook, Tik tok and You-tube to reach out to the youth in every part of the world. She added that social media has helped some youth join the missionaries. She also noted that mission has brought her a lot of joy and fulfillment because she is happy doing it.
Prayer has been the greatest tool in the mission for Sr Sanyu because it inspires her. Many young people don’t know most things about the Catholic faith. It is therefore with her social media page that she is helping to educate the youth about Catholicism.
Among the most beautiful things she has done in the world is inspiring her own mother who was not a catholic to become one. She said her mother is a very staunch catholic today.