Meet the Sisters: Sr. Magdalene Iyua Upev, MMM

Meet the Sisters: Sr. Magdalene Iyua Upev, MMM

I come from Kwande local government area of Benue State (Adikpo London), Nigeria. I speak Tiv as a local language and I come from a polygamous family. My father Upev Adagi was a traditional ruler. He was a king of 12 clans in our area. According to tradition, the king has to marry many wives. My mother, Martha Alu was married off at about 12 years old and she happened to be the youngest of the wives of my father. I have five sisters and a brother from my mother. At birth, I was given the name Iyuator meaning ‘gift to a king’. I am the seventh child of my mother and the youngest in the family having lost my sister who came after me. I am privileged to have many half-brothers and sisters and one of my sisters is the present queen of the TIV Nation home and abroad. Her husband is the Tor Tiv (King of the Tiv Nation).

My mother’s eldest child and her husband assumed the role of my parents when I was five. I am constantly referred to as the eldest of their four biological children. Our parents are deceased, my father passed on when I was six years old, while my mother died of cancer soon after I joined MMM.

I trained as a nurse and midwife before joining MMM. I graduated from the School of Nursing Makurdi at 24 years old. I got a state government appointment the following year. I worked in a school sick bay. While in the civil service, I went for my postgraduate midwifery programme at the Mutala Muhammed School of Midwifery in Jos University Teaching Hospital from September 2008 to March 2010. I entered MMM in August 2010.

The idea of a religious vocation started when I was about 14 years old. I had been reading about the lives of saints from the World Among Us monthly publication and was inspired by St. Martin De Porres and St. Josephine Bakhita. Furthermore, around the same age, I got actively involved in the Legion of Mary and so was touched by the idea of going on mission. I remained a Legionary until I joined MMM.

Before joining MMM, I knew nothing about the Congregation since MMM never worked in the State I come from. I first came across the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 2005 from a booklet of Religious Congregations in Nigeria, and in the same year, I made contact with the Congregation. A classmate of mine, who was a Missionary Sister of the Holy Rosary and knew I had an interest in religious life, gave me the book and encouraged me to start with MMM. I had been thinking of writing to Our Lady of the Apostles (OLA) second. However, I got a response from MMM the following week after posting my letter, so I decided to go in search of MMM. The fact that MMM was involved in healthcare attracted me more because I was already training to become a nurse.
After my First Profession, I was assigned to the Fuka community in Nigeria. Ten months later, I received another assignment to the Republic of South Sudan where I worked for six years and six months.

In my free time, I love reading, cooking, shopping, housekeeping and watching good movies. When I was in Ireland upgrading, I got serious about walking and jogging; the benefits are tremendous!
In 2023, I upgraded my nursing to a BSc at University College Cork in Ireland. My new mission is in Uganda; I am presently taking classes in Luganda in preparation for ministry. I already love the language and people.

What I have enjoyed the most in life are beautiful and rich liturgies, time to meditate, meeting people and sharing life with them. Some of the challenges I have faced are difficult missions, war, ill health and the worries that come with it. I am quite outgoing and can be talkative sometimes but I make an effort to be sensitive and caring of others needs too.

One thing life has taught me is to value people, listen to them without hasty judgement. Life has also taught me to be kind and reach out to people who need me most as well as take care of myself.