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Villa Mater Christi IHM Sisters Retirement Home, Nkpor was officially blessed and opened on the 6th of August, 2015, the feast of Transfiguration.

The Villa is one of the outcomes of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Congregation’s Foundation in 2012. It is a place of a planned care and retirement for IHM Sisters who have worked and served the Congregation, the Church and Society.  

The grand celebration started with the Blessing of the Chapel by the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Most Rev. Denis Chidi Isizor.  In procession was a host of priests from Onitsha Archdiocese among whom were Very Rev. Fr. Theo Odukwe, the Episcopal Vicar of Dunukofia Region, Fr. Samuel Nwadike, the Chaplain of IHM Complex, Nkpor, Fr. John Okafor, the Parish Priest of All Saints, Nkpor, Fr. Jerome Enwelum, Chaplain, Generalate Community and others. 

From other dioceses were, Fr. Jude Chukwuma who represented Most Rev. Hillary Okeke, bishop of Nnewi diocese and Fr. Augustine Ifediba representing Most Rev. Gregory Ochiagha, bishop Emeritus of Orlu diocese.   Some priests of Awka, Nnewi and Benin dioceses were present.  Following them were the IHM Sisters, Dignitaries from the State, IHM Associate Members and friends. 

Holy Mass followed immediately: Mother Mary Claude Oguh, the Superior General took the first reading and Dr. Paschal Obuno, representing the Vice Chancellor of Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli Campus took the second reading. Sr. Maria Ujuanuli Orjiakor, IHM sang the responsorial psalm.  Other blessings - the altar, sacred vessels, and the tabernacle, were done intermittently within the Mass.  The rest of the house was blessed after the Holy Mass. 

In his homily, Bishop Isuzor dwelt on five themes; thanksgiving - to God, IHM supporters and IHM  Sisters; Holy dwelling place of God – the chapel situated at the entrance of the house invites all for a visit but more also, all are holy dwelling place of God which calls for effort to be a good one. 

“This house is a place for interaction of the old and young”, he went on.  So there is need for reciprocal care and support.  Alluding to the feast of the day, the Transfiguration of the Lord, he said that we all resemble God in his dual nature of human and divine.  As a result, we keep on struggling when our human nature pulls us down.  Finally, he prayed that God may bless all who will live in the house and that all may go to God at the end.

This one time celebration attracted a mix of guests ranging from the State Representatives and University Professors to the builders of the house.  His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, the Executive Governor of Anambra State was ably represented by Professor Kate Omenugha, the Anambra State Commissioner for Education.  Some other State dignitaries attended the celebration.

Chief Sir Peter Obi, the Ex-Governor of Anambra State, was present at the occasion.  He expressed his delight in the project with the hope that the initiative will hatch many others especially in the Education sector that will bring about transformation in the State.  He pointed out that it was Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta who sparked the Health Revolution in India today when she overwhelmed her doctor whom she directed to visit a sick fellow rather than herself. 

Before the end of the Mass, the Superior General expressed profound gratitude to God who made possible the present stage of the building.  She thanked all who attended the ceremony and all those that supported the project, both as individuals and as a group.  Turning to the Elderly Sisters she said, “This is our gift to you.” She thanked them for their toils and sacrifices that have sustained the Congregation to the present day. 

Fr. Prof. Boniface A.C. Obiefuna and Dom Onyenji of ABS wonderfully conducted the reception of guests as MCs.  Ferdinand Onyebuchi Okafor of Ferros Print represented the Chairman of the day, Chief Charles Odunukwe – Apostle Ndi Igbo of Oraukwu.  In his opening remarks, he said it was the creativity and beauty - the work of art created by God - that marveled him in the building.  Thanks to Bro Vincent Ehugbo, CSSR, who constructed the building.  He also expressed his wish that other elderly people of the society be included in such plan for the future. 

Some of the Elderly Sisters and IHM Postulants entertained the guests with dances.   The guests made donations for the maintenance of the home.   IHM Sisters gave way to their joy and danced to their heart’s content after the whole celebration.  To God be the glory!



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