Four new MMMs made their First Profession of Vows this year after completing their formation programme in the International Novitiate in Ibadan, Nigeria. Each one comes from a different background and life experience, but all were attracted to serving the poor and needy, using their gifts and talents. Let us introduce them to you
Sr. Pauline Amulen (29) comes from Uganda, one of a family of eight children. Her father was a catechist and started a small Christian Community under a mango tree near his house as there was no church! It grew and eventually a church was built. This is what stimulated in Pauline a firmness in faith and planted the seed of a missionary vocation. Times were hard when she was young as Uganda was going through a period of civil unrest. When she was small, she lost her home, but the family managed to stay together. Her mother was involved in a serious car accident when Pauline was only seven years old. “It forced me to be a mother at a tender age”, she recalls, as she set about caring for her siblings. Because she did well at school, she was able to benefit from scholarships which brought her right up to university level and she graduated in 2017 with a degree in Business computing. Her early life experiences taught her to reach out to the suffering. Now she is assigned to Malawi for her next step in her missionary journey.
Sr. Mary Ogana (32) is from Cross River State in Nigeria. She is the second youngest in a family of five children. Sadly, her mother died when she was only 13 years of age. Her youngest sibling, Precious, was still a baby and Mary was left looking after her as her older siblings were off schooling. Thankfully her father is still alive. Her parents, she says, “were generous, hard-working and peaceful”. After her initial schooling, Mary went to a College of Health Technology and trained as a Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW). Having worked in the health field before she joined MMM, this helped her decide which religious Congregation to join. She is starting her missionary life in Eleta, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Sr. Anastasia Onukafor (26) comes from Abia State, Nigeria. The fifth child of seven, she knew from an early age she wanted to give her life to God as a religious. The family used to joke about it! After finishing school and a course in Computer training, she began working as a nurse’s aid in MMM Hospital in Abakaliki. She tells the story that really impelled her to join our Congregation:
“There was a man lying helplessly outside the hospital gate. He bathed himself with his faeces, looking so weak and abandoned. People were by-passing him but some Sisters of the Medical Missionaries of Mary who came for vocation promotion in Abakaliki picked him up and brought him in. They took care of him, treated his sore, fed and handed him over to the leprosy unit until the relatives came for him. I was touched by this act of compassion, and I felt that I have seen what I was looking for in a congregation. I felt then that it was time to join.”
Sr. Julia Iwuala (38) is from Imo State, Nigeria. Her family were business people and she is one of eight children. After her schooling, she worked with a company as a cashier for a short period and then decided to enter religious life in another Congregation. Around the same time, she lost her mother and found the loss difficult to cope with. So, to give herself time to go through the grieving process, she left the other Congregation and went back to her studies and work. She qualified in Business Administration and worked as a school secretary before joining MMM in 2018.