Bishop Okeke Urges DDL Sisters to Continue to Say Yes to Divine Spouse as Congregation Marks 50
Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha Catholic Diocese has urged Daughters of Divine Love (DDL) Sisters to continue to say yes to divine spouse, who they have chosen to follow all the days of their lives.
Bishop Okeke said this during a concelebrated Mass marking the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the foundation of the congregation of Daughters of Divine Love.
The Regional celebration took place on Oct. 26 at Mater Dei Secondary School, Awkuzu.
He noted that their founder, late Bishop Godfrey Mary Paul Okoye (CSSP), lived a special, unique and consecrated life, which radiated the splendor of the divine.
``The congregation was founded to commemorate the infinite love and mercy of God by paying Him homage and making a return of love to Him.
``As consecrated daughters, you are to live in the imitation of Christ who came to give His life as a ransom for humanity, ‘’ Okeke said.
The prelate urged them to live life of charity because their motto, `Caritas Christi, UrgetNos’, which means the love of Christ, urges us on.
Bishop Okeke prayed God that the Jubilee celebration and the reverent reception of the divine sacrament might stir with burning charity the hearts of His servants to serve the Church and humanity.
In a homily, Msgr. Hipolite Adigwe noted that late Bishop Okoye was a lover of all, who always tried to fulfill God’s plan in every soul he came across.
He said that Rev. sisters were gifts from God to help in bringing God’s kingdom to men, urging them to always show love to anyone they come in contact with.
``Any sister in Medical apostolate should always bear in mind that she is a sister/doctor and not a doctor sister. Try to remember what your apostolate is all about.’’
In an address, Rev. M Uzonna Orakwue, Onitsha Regional Superior, said that Onitsha region was made up of sisters of DDL witnessing under Onitsha Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Awka and Nnewi.
Sr. Orakwue said that DDL congregation was founded during the agonising and ravaging Nigeria-Biafra war on July 16, 1969.
It was founded on the feast day of our lady of Mount Carmel, at Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area.
Regional Superior said that the plan for the foundation of DDL congregation in the midst of sufferings during the Biafra war was to show Divine Love and to commemorate the infinite love of God among the suffering masses.
She said that as a way of commemorating these 50 years of their existence, they had special project for the poor as an expression of their concern and love for them.
``The project entails putting up standard school buildings for the physically challenged at Igbariam, Anambra State.
``This project is intended to house comfortable hostels, functional skills Acquisition Centre, a Clinic to attend to their medical needs and a Convent building to accommodate the sisters that will manage the school.’’
She, then, pleaded with the state government and lovers of charity to donate generously to enable them to accomplish the project.
Rev. Sr. Prof Bernadette Ezeliora during the enthronement of the portrait of their founder Bishop said that they gathered to celebrate and honour a man and father founder of DDL through whom God established them unto the Church.
She said that late Bishop Okoye was born in Ifite Ukpo (now Ifitedunu), Njikoka LGA, Anambra State.
He was a Holy Ghost Priest, a life he embraced as the crowning moment of his entire life and lived with an intense obsession and as the greatest honour God could confer on a mortal man.
Late Okoye was made Bishop of Port Harcourt and later Bishop of Enugu Diocese. He was a role model, who lived 50 years ahead of his contemporaries.
He was a fierce defender of Church control of mission schools and founder of knights of St. Mulumba.
Sr. Ezeliora described him as a crusader of peace during the civil war, who masterminded the humanitarian activities executed by caritas international charity organisation during the war.
According to her, late Okoye was a bishop with singular concern for the welfare of souls, a crusader of justice and peace, calling on all to emulate him.
All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) National Woman Leader, Mrs Ada Orji Nwanyanwu, said that DDL Sisters survive on charity, perform works of charity and live in remote places.
She said that the sisters were servants, irrespective of their academic qualifications, who would bring the kingdom of God to men.
Mrs Orji narrated her encounter with them when she was facing difficult moments of her life not knowing that she was decaying to germinate.
The APGA Woman Leader thanked them for their moral and financial support, calling on all good-spirited individuals to rally support for them to accomplish their jubilee project.
Earlier Gov. Willie Obiano commended the sisters for their apostolate.
The governor, who was represented by Francis Okeke Esq. Special Assistant to Governor on Project Monitoring, promised to support the congregation.
In a separate interview, Mr Joseph Igwebuike, Laity Chairman, Awka Catholic Diocese, commended Gov. Obiano for his giant strides in education and other sectors.
Mr Igwebuike noted that Gov. Obiano distributed learning facilities aside providing counterpart funding for effective teaching and learning, creating enabling environment for teaching and learning.
According to him, the governor has approached education in three broad areas; infrastructure development; pupils/students development and teachers’ welfare resulting in outstanding performances they have recorded across the globe.
He pleaded with the governor to extend his benevolence to DDL sisters to enable them to complete the Mater Dei School building projects that had been ongoing.
Mother M Anastasia Dike, Mother-General while thanking all for their support, called on them to always live with faith and love so that divine beauty would radiate.