History of ARU
Mother Mary Bernadine, LSOSF (R.I.P) – Founder, First Secretary Gen. and Chairperson
The beginning: The Association of Religious in Uganda, generally known as ARU, has a long history which dates back to its foundation in 1968. It was founded initially as a body of women religious working in Uganda by the women Major Superiors, led Mother Mary Bernadine, LSOSF (R.I.P.). The founding of this body was a response to a directive by Pope Paul VI that Religious Institutes in their various countries throughout the world would form a forum from which they would address issues of common interest concerning their consecrated life. This requirement was born out of the decisions that had been made in the Second Vatican Council. The Religious men’s Institutes in Uganda also formed their own Association known then as the Conference of Men Superiors of Religious Institutes in Uganda (COMSRIU).
In 1995 the two Associations of men and women Religious saw it necessary to form one Association and got the approval of the Holy See. Out of the merger an Assembly of Major Superiors of Religious Institutes in Uganda, AMSRIU, was born with a Mission “to collaborate, support and empower each Institute to live its unique Charism within the Mission of the Church today.” Hence ARU remained the overall Association that embodies all the Religious men and women in Uganda; AMSRIU therefore provides leadership and is the decision and policy-making body. It is the members of AMSRIU who decide on the best steps to take in addressing issues affecting members of ARU. Such decisions do not in anyway, override the autonomous nature of each Institute.
There are 113 registered member institutes with over 8000 members Dual membership 33 men institutes, 80 women institutes
ARU has always operated out of values that are based on the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Empowered by this Gospel message the ARU/AMSRIU operate out of a shared Vision, Mission, Motto and specific values.