This month we are going to meet Sr. Chinenye Gertrude Imoh, from Nnarambia Ahiara Ahiazu Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. She is a lively, outgoing person. She describes herself as “noisy” at times, but that side of her personality was not seen on her recent stay in Ireland! She comes from a family of eight children, two boys and six girls. Her parents are still alive. They were business people and ensured that all the children had a good education.
Chinenye trained as a nurse/midwife in the School of Nursing, Joint Hospital Mbano in Imo State, and in the school of Midwifery, Mater Misericordia, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, respectively. As she was discerning her vocation to religious life, she decided to work in Mile Four Hospital, Abakaliki, and see these MMM Sisters up close! She began with the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate (PVMI) and discontinued because she was not at home with the apostolate and then she went for studies.
It was our motto “Rooted and Founded in Love” that caught her attention, and our healing charism. But she was undecided, and so for a time just pursued her studies and left all thoughts of religious life aside. Then, one day, she met an MMM Sister in her parish and took the plunge, asking this Sister who she should contact to join MMM. This happened when she was studying Botany at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike in Abia State in 2003. Her quest for serving God and humanity in the healing ministry made her quit the University for Nursing school in Mbano.
Her journey to MMM started back in 2007 when she visited the vocation directress, Sr. Fidelia Ogujawa, for the first time in Mile Four, Abakaliki. She entered postulancy in 2010. After her period of initial religious formation, she was assigned to Zaffe in the Republic of Benin in 2014. Apart from working as a nurse and midwife, she also was bursar and engaged in youth ministry. “It was quite challenging, trying to get them to reason with me on how to improve their lives. At one stage, I was frustrated, but my Sisters and a few of them encouraged me. The mission helped me to appreciate cultural diversity and respect individual cultures’’, she says.
In 2021, Sr. Chinenye had the opportunity to upgrade her nursing to degree level in Cork, Ireland. In the Motherhouse we loved the visits from the students as they brought such joy with them!
Back in Nigeria in 2022, she assumed coordination of St. Theresa’s Clinic, Amukoko in Lagos. The clinic is quite a big one and highly demanding. Although they have 52 staff, there is always a need for extra people to help. They deal with an average of 150 outpatients in a day. Her work is not only coordinating but also carrying out clinical work when they are short-staffed, and conducting health talks when groups invite her. Being in a slum area that is highly populated, apart from medical assistance, they also come to the clinic looking for food and financial help. Keeping professional staff is challenging, the medical officer who was there for only three years recently resigned and so did the radiographer. It will not be easy to replace them. The economy of the country has made medical personnel leave Nigeria for a better livelihood abroad.
However, the presence of MMMs in this Area gives her joy because many people in this area keep narrating how the clinic has helped them and they are appreciative. The patients so much believe in the sisters and the workers. “The cooperation between the staff and the sisters is highly recommendable, and this makes work a bit easier.”, Sr. Chinenye tells us.
Reflecting on her life, she has learned to let things be and trust more in God. “I can be impatient at times”, she whispers! Moreover, I am task-oriented, and I love working in a team to ensure the completion of tasks assigned to us. I value commitment, reliability, and integrity. I love dancing, reading, and watching movies on my leisure time.