Archive for November, 2007

Nigerian Invincible Spirit

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

On my first encounter with Rebecca I found her sitting on a small stool beneath the overhang of her thatched house. She was shelling melon seeds. The local church leader, Timothy, had asked me to visit her as she wanted to receive communion. Her compound is difficult to reach as the footpath is narrow and rocky so I had left my motor bike in a nearby compound and trekked in.

Rebecca from birth has suffered from a deformity in her legs and feet. Her total height is about four feet, and her legs have never fully developed. Her feet are misshapen and turned inward. She manages to walk only with the aid of a stick in each hand and even then in an agonizingly slow stumbling gait, inching her way forward.

Rebecca has four children; three boys and one girl, ranging in age from sixteen to eight. Her husband died six years ago and while his relatives live nearby, providing for her family remains a challenge. With a wheelchair she could move out to the market to sell some produce, socialize and go to church.

Thus I approached the church committee with the suggestion that we raise funds to purchase a wheelchair for her. These wheelchairs are made at St. Joseph’s Centre for the Handicapped which was founded by Sr. Rosemarie Donovan some years ago. The chairs are designed to meet the demands of the rough terrain and require mainly bicycle parts which can be purchased in most local markets for any repairs.

For our initial fund raising we decided to invite people to an evening of Biblical Plays on video which Sr. Patricia Kay produced in the Tive Language with the youth in Vandeikya. To capitalize on a large audience we planned to do some Aids Awareness by including the video based on the Prodigal Son parable. It features a young man going to Abuja for the “High Life” where he contracts Aids and subsequently returns sick to his parents.

Before showing the films Isaac Gberiwa, the director of St. Joseph’s Centre spoke to the crowed about the services offered at the centre. The Head of the Church Council for Dansoho then made an appeal for the funds to buy the wheelchair for Rebecca. The neighbours had weeded the path to her compound and she was brought in to the church by motor bike.

On my most recent visit to Rebecca the compound appeard empty. Shortly, I saw one of her children approaching on the opposite footpath. Rebecca and all her children were out on their farm digging cassava. Up the path behind the children came Rebecca beaming a beautiful smile. We have yet to gather sufficient funds for the wheelchair but with such a courageous and invincible spirit as Rebecca to inspire us I’m sure we’ll succeed.

Closing of the Guyana Mission

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

By: Sr. Doris MacDonell,OLM

After 14 years in Guyana, we came to the decision to close our Mission and return to Canada.

This was due to the health problems and the fact that Sr. Joan was called to serve on the leadership team in Canada. Sisters Cecile and Doris first went to Guyana in January,1993 and were joined by Sister Joan in 2004. During our time there we were involved in monitoring the sick in their homes and assisting them to get to their clinic appointments when necessary. We visited regularly the women in the National Psychiatric Hospital, the residents of the Good Samaritan Homeand at the home run by the Missionary Sisters of Charity. We were also involved in ministry at the Special Needs School and at the women’s prison. Due to the generosity of our freinds in Canada, we were able to assist numerous children with their education and many families in need. We are grateful for the timethat we lived in New Amsterdam and will always remember the warmth and the welcome of the people. It was with much regret that we came to the decision that we could no longer carry on our work there as we felt very much a part of the parish and of the people. Now we are faced with challenge of responding to the diverse needs in the Toronto area and ask for your prayers both for ourselves and for the Guyanese people in New Amsterdam who received us so graciously into their lives.

God richly provides us with everything..

Monday, November 5th, 2007

“God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
1 Timothy 6:17

By Sr. Gwen Legault

This is the text written on the side of a teapot presented to me on the occasion of my 50th anniversary as a member of Our Lady’s Missionaries. A Mass of Thanksgiving was held at Holy Rosary Church in Crysler, Ontario, followed by refreshments at the Community Centre where family and friends reminisced and exchanged stories. The venue was significant, for this was the very church built by the founder of our community, Msgr. D.R. Macdonald in 1898. The date, September 8, was also very special to me as that was the date I first arrived in Nigeria in 1974. The day of celebration itself was made possible by the communal effort of my sister, Gaye Benoit and my brother, Allan Legault and their families and friends. Now whenever I sit down to enjoy a cup of tea, I look back with gratitude for my missionary vocation and I’m overwhelmed by “God’s riches.”