Many who visit this place know it as the Subukia National Shrine.
Its name has since changed its name to the Village of Mary Mother of God, or the National Marian Shrine.
It is still a famous shrine in Nakuru’s Subukia Sub-County which attracts many visitors daily.
Subukia is a Maasai word pronounced as isupuku meaning ‘higher grounds’.
The name aptly fits the location of this famous shrine which is 210 Kilometers west of Nairobi and 40 Kilometers from Nakuru.
The Shrine, which has attracted both Christians and non-Christians since it was started in 1985 is owned by Kenya Episcopal Conference and managed by the Franciscan Friars.
NAMED BY CARDINAL OTUNGA
The shrine was named the Village of Mary Mother of God in 1984 by the late Michael Cardinal Maurice Otunga.
The fact that Subukia is geographically at the centre of Kenya makes it suitable for bringing together people from all parts of Kenya and beyond.
Subukia is also a meeting place of two hemispheres as the equator runs through it.
On a Sunday morning, we arrive at the foot of the hill heading to the shrine where a little chapel is erected.
Here we find several other pilgrims, Christians and non-Christians included, all in a subdued mood heading to the shrine.
We are told this is where people confess their sins regardless of their religious denomination.
We join a group of pilgrims on a little climb up the hill. All the way, the pilgrims recited the rosary. As we are told, the climb up the hill symbolises the way of the cross. It recounts the time Jesus carried the cross as he was taken for his crucifixion.
This leads us to another chapel with a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus and the spring water which is believed to have miracle cures.
It is at this point where I realised that almost everyone who visited the place had a jerry can for carrying the Holy water.
According to the history of the shrine, the spring which is widely believed to produce water with healing powers started flowing since December 1991 and has since never dried up.
On the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 1991, it is said that while clearing the thick bush where the shrine was to be erected, a supervisor Henry Muthuku came across a wet patch on the ground which had a small spring of water.
The finding of the spring has however been of great significance to the history of the shrine with many believers taking it as a form of blessing. This explains why many pilgrims to this shrine fetch water from the spring.
As we discovered, many tourists and people from different religious denominations fetch the water believed to give both spiritual and physical healing.
At the centre of the compound is a new church under construction designed in the shape of the crown of Mary the mother of Jesus.
It has 12 corners symbolising the 12 stars in Mary’s crown and 12 pillars symbolising the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
Upon its completion, the church is expected to host more than 4,500 congregants.
For those visit this scenic religious shrine, it is always convenient to carry packed meals.