Nigeria: 60 years of DHS presence

The history of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in Nigeria dates back to 1964, when four Sisters of the Holy Spirit from England, Sister Yvonne, Sister Albertine, Sister Thérèse PATTY and Sister Veronica HARAHAN, accompanied by Mother BRENDAN from England, travelled to Nigeria in response to an invitation from the Missionaries of Africa – the White Fathers – to take up a mission contract in Ife. Bishop Mac-Coy was then the new bishop of the former diocese of Oyo. 21 years after the sisters’ two-term contracts had expired, they sought to return to the country in 1985. On hearing this news, the new Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Bishop Julius Babatunde Adelakun, asked that young Nigerian girls be trained to join the Congregation in order to bear witness to the beautiful charism of the Sisters. Following the Bishop’s request, the formation of the first two Nigerian girls began in 1987: thus Sister Agnes OBEMBE and Sister Helena UGORJI.  The history of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in Nigeria cannot be complete without mentioning the current Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Oyo, Bishop Julius Adelakun!

The celebration of 60 years of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in Nigeria in the diocese of Oyo has just been inaugurated, from 12 to 14 April 2024, by three important event
– On 12 April, a celebration was held in honour of Bishop Emeritus Adelakun : The Daughters of the Holy Spirit of the Vice-Province of Nigeria, the Bishop of the Diocese of Oyo, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, priests, religious and lay faithful surrounded Bishop Adelakun to rejoice with him that God had sustained him to bear witness to his fidelity in the lives of the sisters he had encouraged to remain… As a sign of gratitude, a coconut tree was blessed and planted in the Bishop Emeritus’s courtyard.
During the celebration, Bishop Adelakun testified to God’s faithfulness and goodness, which has enabled the little dream of 60 years ago to bear fruit. He congratulated the Daughters of the Holy Spirit and offered a special prayer that they may continue to enjoy God’s goodness in their vocation. All the other benefactors present spoke of and witnessed to the service of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Oyo as well as in the Nigerian Church.
– To extend the congregation’s charism in caring for the sick, the vice-province organised a general health conference and a free medical examination for the people of Ogbomoso, regardless of age, religion or gender, under the aegis of the ESF and the staff of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Ipetu-Modu. Health advice was given on certain aspects of common problems such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, eye problems, etc. After the free medical examinations, medicines were also administered to certain patients according to their needs. On the same day, some of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, in solidarity with the poor, also visited internally displaced people in the Kishi camp.
– On 14 April 2024, a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in the Diocese of Oyo to thank God for the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in their work of evangelisation. The Bishop Emeritus, Mgr Julius Adelakun, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Mgr Emmanuel Badejo, the priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Oyo were present. In his homily, Reverend Father Ferdinand Olabode thanked God for the grace and action of the Holy Spirit on the Daughters of the Holy Spirit over the past 60 years. He also congratulated Bishop Adelakun on his efforts to make the dream of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit a reality in Nigeria, and prayed that they and all those who have supported their mission would grow stronger. In his address, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo congratulated Bishop Adelakun, the Congregation as a whole and all the sisters of the Vice-Province of Nigeria as they celebrate their remarkable Diamond Jubilee; he commended the efforts of the Sisters, in particular their commitment to pastoral care and the education of children wherever they are inserted. He encouraged them to maintain this zeal without looking back.

This first time of celebration was a happy one, as everyone surrounded the Daughters of the Holy Spirit with joy, singing, dancing and thanking God with them.

Sister Patience EFFIONG, DHS. Published on 23 April 2024