Development in the Nigerian Mission
On April 4, 2006, our Nigerian Mission began with the arrival of two Sisters, Sr. Nkechi Iwuoha, a young professed, and Sr. Christeta Hess, from Germany. They had been invited by Archbishop Obinna from Owerri to start some project for street children. The Sisters rented a house in Prefab and established some contacts to the Ministry of Women Affairs as well as to parishes in Owerri. Soon they started a survey among the beggars and street children in Owerri, and also were asked by the Ministry to look into the Government Remand Home in Logara.
From Logara came our first children – three small children under the age of 12 who had been kept in the Remand Home for more than four years, as well as two school age boys who wanted nothing more than a chance to go to school. The children joined the Sisters in their house. They were extremely malnourished, the younger children could not speak.
In June, we found the family of one of the small children. The other two are still with us. The boys who could speak, were prepared for school and started school in September 2006.
By that time, we knew that a house for children was necessary, and we found a building site near the village of Mgbele, Oguta II, Imo State. At first the children lived in a rented house, in the meantime we could build a house for the children, a convent and also a clinic in the same compound.
Also in September 2006, we accepted the first group of candidates who had applied to join the congregation, some already for Germany, others who heard about us.
In the same year, two of the Nigerian Sisters who had been trained in Germany, came back to Nigeria and started working with us.
We tried to find a building site to build our formation house. As this was difficult in Imo State, we looked around and found a site in Niger State, with the help of the Bishop of Minna in whose diocese we then started our building. This is in Garam, Tafa LGA. The building was finished in February 2008 when the formation groups moved there.
For four years, we had a project for young men whom we helped to get a training as craftsmen. This needed to have trained men which we do not have, and we now help two boys, but will not accept new members after them.
In October 2008, we started work in Ifetedo, having been invited by the Bishop of Oshogbo to work in his diocese. At first the Sisters lived in a rented house and started mobile clinics in Area 4, Meforowade and many other villages in the rural area at the border of Osun and Ondo State.
So between 2006 and 2009, three convent areas have been built up: Imo State, Niger State, Osun State. The Sisters work in health care and education and help in the parishes with catechism. The children we took from the streets, are taken care of and they can go to school.
By 2010, all sisters who had their religious formation in Germany, have come back. There were quite a number of sisters who still needed professional training, and several of them did their training in Nigeria, others in Germany or in the United States. Some changed provinces and are still living abroad working in ministry.
In August 2010, International Leadership decided that Nigeria could be a Pro-Region within the Congregation, and a leaderhsip team was appointed, with Sr. Christeta as Pro-Regional, Sr. Petricia as Vicaress and Formation Directress, and Sr. Scholastica as Councillor. In the first chapter meeting in Nigeria, a Nigerian Directory was developed and accepted by the Leadership.Sisters now also belonged to the international committees within the congregation. Several times there were visits from both International (General) and German leadership sisters.
After three years, during the second chapter meeting in February 2014, and in the presence of General Leadership, Nigeria was shifted from being under the German Province to now be under General Leaderhsip direction. A new leadership team was appointed, with all Nigerian members: Sr. Scholastica as Pro-Regional, Sr. Kelechi as Vicaress and Formation Directress, Sr. Agatha as Councillor and Sr. Chimebere as Treasurer.
In June 2014, the new leadership was formally introduced into office. And in August 2014, the two German sisters went back to Germany for good.
And formation of new members keeps going on.
2017 was an important year for the Nigerian Pro-Region.
The second chapter was held in Garam, in the presence of General Leadership, and the leadership team with Sr. Scholastica, Sr. Kelechi and Sr. Agatha was re-appointed, together with Sr. Eliza as the third councillor.
Sr. Eliza is responsible for aspirants and postulants, and she resides in Mgbele.
In 2017, all three schools, in Mgbele, in Azin Kasa and in Ifetedo, reached secondary school level. That will enable all students to finish their education in the same institution, up to the beginning of the tertiary level.
In Ibokun, the school of Catering and Hospitaliy is developing very well. The first course ended in January 2018 with good results, a second course with 40 participants was started.
The sisters opened a small shop in the area of the school to support poor participants in their costs for materials used in classes.
In 2018, the congregation was asked by the Bishop of Oshogbo diocese to open a third house there and to start building up a primary school in Ilon Ifobu, Osun State where the town fathers had appealed to the Bishop to send them someone to start a good school. Two sisters will go there and start work in August 2018.