NIGERIA'S JUBILEE CELEBRATED IN BIRKDALE, ENGLAND
By Sr. Maura O'Carroll, SNDdeN
On May 3, 2013, at Birkdale, England, many Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) from the British Province celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the SNDdeN Province in Nigeria. The date chosen commemorated the first Mass in the Sisters’ founding convent in Oro, Nigeria. Many Sisters who had ministered in Nigeria, including two founding Sisters still with us, Srs.Ellen Gielty and Joan Mary Brown, were present.
At the liturgy,a Sr. Josephine Threlfall gave a Reflection which told the story of the new Province; the bidding prayers remembered past and present members. The altar was adorned with a special Notre Dame cloth, lovely Nigerian carvings, diaries from the early days, a stethoscope representing the immense health care started by the Sisters, some early letters and a book of St. Julie Billiart’s Letters. We prayed for so many persons. After Communion, we sang the Magnificat. The Mass ended with the Oke Maria version of Beneath the Skies of Picardy, sung with great gusto! This lovely celebration was also filled with great HOPE.
The Birkdale Community had arranged a veritable feast. Sisters, who had been on mission in Nigeria, expressed their thanks, in Yoruba, with a little dance. Some were dressed in Nigerian cloth,. With the happy conversation, we viewed an excellent Exhibition of Notre Dame in Nigeria, prepared by our Province archivist, Clare Walsh. It was a great celebration of the founding of the Nigeria Province and the ongoing and vibrant life of our Nigerian Sisters of Notre Dame!
The story of the 50th Celebration in Nigeria will appear in the November 2013 edition of Good Works, which will be posted on this Web site.