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Our life in veritas, the catholic university of Nigeria. Abuja

It was all amazing on 9th September, 2014 when our vice-provincial, Sr. Monica Anyi put a call across to us; Patience Effiong, Grace Abah and Justina Akubo (DHS) about the resumption of our school Veritas Catholic University Abuja. We felt happy as we began our journey to Abuja to commence our studies. We were three out of the 16 religious-beneficiaries of ASEC scholarship. We appreciate God and thank the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) and our congregation for this great opportunity.

To refresh our memory and to prepare for the main programme, we joined other students for the Foundation Year Programme which lasted for two months. During this period, we studied subjects of our choices and wrote the recommended examination which we all did well. It was on 22nd November, 2014 that we started our first degree programme formally.

Living together. Initially, we lived in the school hostel as student-sisters. Up to date, we witness to the Gospel of Christ and the Charism of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit in our little way of communal life. Before we resumed school, we had our General Assembly where we chose our orientation “Rooted in the Love of the Trinity” for the year 2014/2015. We created chance on how to live our orientation. We also shared our formation study together. We do our community prayer, recollection, meals, and meetings in our little corner to keep us in the spirit of the congregation. In the University, we participate with our fellow students in religious and academic programmes.

Together, we had a common renewal of vows with other congregations on 2nd February, 2015 (Consecrated Life Day) at the chaplaincy and this made a great impact in us as we celebrated the Year of Consecrated Life. On the day of Pentecost, our principal feast day, the three of us renewed our commitment in the chaplaincy and we had our celebration back in our hostel. We do celebrate our birthdays together as we do back in our communities. Each of us identifies with a pious society and association in the chaplaincy such as; Legion of Mary, Catholic Charismatic Renewal and choir respectively.

The bond that exists among us is what keeps us going. Despite the stress of our academic work, we come back to share our experiences, we affirm one another’s gift, we reconcile with one another when there is a misunderstanding. Our success also comes from the support we give one another. Through our simple way of life, it was possible for us to discover children from the neighbouring village ‘’Zuma II’’ who became our friends. Gradually, our close relationship with the children drew them to worship with us in the chaplaincy from time to time. We were touched by the gestures of these children as they shared with us their little gifts such as groundnuts and beautiful smiles. They also led us to know their parents and families. Today, what we started as a mere friendly conversation has led to the establishment of children’s liturgy where we take care of and teach children on Sundays in the two out-stations; St, Gabriel Gaba and St. Anthony Zuma 11. We have about two-hundred children altogether whom we teach. With this, the number keeps increasing as parents have come to cherish our service.

As days went by, our number increased from three to five sisters with Sr. Rita Oye and Sr. Mercy Aghahowa. They also fit into our simple communal living and that of sharing our apostolate with the children. Life is not so easy in an academic environment such as ours. We encounter some challenges in our different areas of study, but with our togetherness, we face the challenging situations with faith. As day go by, we realise more, the essence of being sent on a mission like this. We are grateful to our congregation, ASEC and Veritas University. Veritas University is a faith-based institution of learning where we continue with our formation and help forming others who are less informed. From our experiences so far, we have gained a lot, not just as students, but as religious (DHS) and this has helped us to do well in our studies and to become balanced in our way life.

Effiong Patience, Abah Grace and Akubo Justina, Aghahowa Mercy and Oye Rita (DHS) - Published on May 3, 2018

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