Nigeria. A very special event

On 3 June 2023, the Vice-Province of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit of Nigeria recorded a joyous event: two of its Daughters, Sisters Juliet Idowu and Queendaline Alegu, made a definitive commitment to the Congregation. The celebration took place at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ayetoro, in the diocese of Osogbo.

This special event attracted a large number of people from all walks of life. Present were the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo (Oyo State), Mgr. Emmanuel Badejo, the main celebrant, the Bishop of the Diocese of Osogbo (Osun State), Mgr John Oyejola, and a large number of priests, nuns from several congregations, Daughters of the Holy Spirit, parents, Associates of the ESF Spiritual Family, relatives, friends, children and parishioners from the Diocese of Osogbo and other neighbouring dioceses.

During his homily, Bishop John thanked Almighty God for his generous love and mercy, especially for the gift of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in this and other dioceses, who bear witness to Christ in their service. He thanked God for the gift of the two sisters, Juliette and Queendaline, who today are giving themselves totally to his service. He reminded the assembly that our existence as human beings depends solely on the power of God and not on our own power… Since Christ is the true vine and we are the branches, he particularly emphasised to the two sisters that they should not allow anything worldly or material to prevent them from remaining connected to God. Their connection with God should enable them to bear much fruit, fruit that will last. He urged them to allow themselves to be pruned of all forms of distraction in order to produce good fruit. The bishop also stressed that community life is the most important aspect of the life of every religious, because it is in the community that the total gift is reflected by living fully the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. No distracting element should prevent him from bearing witness to God in the community. As Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians illustrates, every religious, in order to succeed in living an authentic community life, should bear in mind to have a compassionate heart, to practise kindness, humility and patience in every situation. He should also take as his model the first community of believers as illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles: a community that prays together and puts everything in common so that no one lacks anything. In conclusion, he acknowledged and appreciated the pastoral zeal of all the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the diocese and beyond, and praised our selfless efforts…

During the second part of the celebration, the two sisters pronounced their definitive commitment to God through the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience in the presence of the Vice-Provincial, Sister Anthonia Ayeni, delegated by Sister Ann Almodovar, Superior General. The prayer was supported by the invocation of the Saints of God, the “Litany of the Saints”, followed by the prayer of consecration pronounced by the bishop over the two sisters.

The ceremony was so special that it encouraged everyone to sing and dance joyfully during the thanksgiving.

In his speech at the end of the celebration, Bishop Badejo of the diocese praised the efforts of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the many mission stations where they bear witness to Christ. He congratulated the two sisters, Juliet and Queendaline, on their definitive commitment and prayed to God to grant them the grace of perseverance. In a very special way, he sent a message of congratulations to the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Oyo, MGR. JULIUS ADELAKUN: he recalled that it was thanks to his father’s efforts and his call that the congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit came into being in Nigeria. This is why Bishop ADELAKUN will remain a great icon of faith in the history of the DHS in Nigeria.

The final part of the celebration was the reception, in a hall, of the two newly professed sisters. This created another significant expression of joy, particularly from the children of the schools and mission places where the two sisters have already served. There were cultural demonstrations, choreographies, mimes, etc. from different groups. All the Daughters of the Holy Spirit of the Vice-Province expressed their greatest happiness in union with the two sisters, the two bishops, Sister Anthonia Ayeni, the FSE sisters, the families and so many others.  It was an impressive celebration!

At the end of the celebration, Sister Queendaline Alegu – on behalf of Juliet – expressed her gratitude to God for his fidelity and love. She thanked the FSE Congregation and the Superior General for their acceptance, which had made this event possible! She also thanked the two bishops, all the priests and nuns and their families for their immense support. She also thanked the vice-provincial, Sr Anthonia Ayeni, and all the FSEs for their fraternal support and presence. She prayed that God would bless everyone and bring them home safely.

 Sister Patience Effiong, DHS. Published on 6 June 2023