Akpan, Sr. Veronica

Nationality: Nigerian
Congregational Register No. 352
D.O.B. 23.05.1929
First Profession 02.07.1956
Died: 16.08.2001 Aged: 72 years

Sr. Veronica Akpan was born in Eniong Offol, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. She had one older brother and a younger sister. Her home village is near St. Luke's Hospital, Anua, and it was here that she first came in contact with MMM. After her initial schooling and a one-year Teacher Training Course, she went to St. Luke's and trained as a nurse and midwife.

During Sr. Veronica's training her desire to be a MMM grew, and she spent a long time talking with her family about this but they were reluctant to give consent. Finally in 1953, she decided to enter MMM in spite of her family's concerns and worries. She was our first Nigerian vocation and was asked, together with Sr. Agnes Essien, to go to Ireland for postulancy and Novitiate.

Her postulancy was spent in Clonmel, County Tipperary, and her novitiate was split between Drogheda and Clonmel. After First Profession Sr. Veronica returned to Anua as a staff nurse and in 1959 was appointed deputy Matron and subsequently Matron. She worked in Anua between 1956 and 1979, with a few breaks only for up-grading and formation studies.

In 1979, Sr. Veronica moved to Ikot Ekpene, then Urua Akpan. She began formation work first with the postulants and then in 1980 was appointed as Novice Directress, a post she held until 1987. In 1989, after a sabbatical year in England, where her loving and motherly concern for others earned her the nickname of 'Mother Africa', she returned to Nigeria and Ondo community until the withdrawal from the work there in 1995 when she retired to Urua Akpan.

Sr. Veronica could appear quiet and serious, but underneath was a warm and caring sister. She loved working with "the young ones" and also had a gift in giving hospitality to the many, and often unexpected, visitors to the convent. She had a true sense of wonder at nature, seeing beauty in all forms of flowers, trees and shrubs.

In her later years her health had been uncertain, and she spent her retirement years visiting patients and their relatives in hospital, and taking care of hospitality in the convent. Although she had been unwell for some time before her death, her final illness was brief, and she died in Urua Akpan Convent with the MMM sisters at her side.

She is buried in Benin City.

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