Nigeria. 60th Anniversary Grand Final

The grand finale of the celebrations marking 60 years of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit took place on Friday 10 May 2024 at the Catholic Cathedral of Saint-Benoît in Osogbo.

It was a glorious celebration attended by the bishops of the dioceses where the Daughters of the Holy Spirit work. The main celebrant was the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan, Gabriel Abegunrin. Also present were priests from the dioceses of Osogbo, Oyo, Ibadan, Lagos and Abeokuta, as well as from neighbouring dioceses.
Also present were the General Councillors of the Congregation, representatives of the DHS in Burkina Faso, other male and female religious congregations in Nigeria, associates, novices, postulants, aspirants, friends and benefactors of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit. It was an event of immense joy, as Sister Clementina Emeghara, DHS, also celebrated her 25th anniversary of religious life.
Our joy as Daughters of the Holy Spirit in Nigeria knew no bounds as we were surrounded by so many people rejoicing and thanking God with us!

In his homily today, Reverend Father Peter Adeyemi thanked God for his faithfulness and his many blessings on the Congregation and in particular on the Vice-Province of Nigeria for its 60 years of existence. He congratulated the main initiator of the beginning of the formation of the Nigerian sisters, Bishop Julius Adelakun, and blessed God for having watched over such a small seed until it reached a high degree of fruitfulness.

Father Adeyemi drew the attention of our Congregation and the other Congregations present to the value of community life as indicated in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles about the early Christians who lived together in harmony, love and joy and shared all that they had in common. He encouraged all the sisters to continue to bear witness to community life and, most importantly, to take seriously the three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, – of chastity: the sisters must be content with what they have and seek nothing that might tarnish their lives, – of poverty: the sisters must respect the values and charism of their Congregation and not become attached to materialism, – of obedience: he insisted that the sisters must live in total obedience to the authorities of the Congregation and the Church.
The silver jubilarian, Sister Clementina Emeghara, renewed her religious commitments in the presence of the whole Church, to continue to live and witness to Christ through the Congregation.

The main celebrant, Bishop Gabriel Abegunrin, praised the efforts of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in their authentic witness and their involvement in building up the Church through their simple way of participating in mission and pastoral work in the five dioceses where they are present. He congratulated the sisters on having reached such a great milestone as a vice-province with such a large number of sisters for this Diamond Jubilee. He prayed that God would continue to sustain the Congregation, the Vice-Province of Nigeria and increase its calls to religious life.
The vice-provincial, Sister Anthonia Ayeni, thanked Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin, Bishop Julius Adelakun and all the bishops for their fatherly support, their prayers and their presence at the celebration. She also thanked all the priests, religious and lay faithful for their participation in the celebration and their support, and prayed to God to bless and guide everyone towards a happy and peaceful return home.

The celebration continued with the presentation of the revised version of the book ‘Ise Oluwa’, ‘The Work of God’, previously written by Sister Veronica Hanrahan: this book has been revised to include the work and services of the DHS in Nigeria. There was also the presentation of a new music album produced by the Vice Province DHS Choir, in thanksgiving to God for 60 years of his faithfulness and love. The birthday cake was then cut, accompanied by dancing, singing and celebration.

It was a great day, a powerful expression of immense joy to the glory of God.

Sister Patience EFFIONG, DHS. Published on 14 May 2024