My visit to Enugu

Elizabeth outside our flat in EnuguElizabeth on her visit to Enugu

Elizabeth who is a member of the Lay community of Brother Charles in Hackney and was one of the delegates to their international meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, is just back from Enugu where she has family.

She visited the Little sisters there and on her return shared her impressions and thoughts.

'I have been very moved by my visit', she told us.'The little sisters do not live in a big convent but in a small flat that is very difficult to find! It is in a simple neighbourhood and not where you expect to find nuns!

I was welcomed so warmly even though the sisters were leaving for a Community retreat in Awka where they have their Regional house.

They told me about the jobs they do and I was surprised to learn how they make a clear choice to do low paid manual work to be close to ordinary people and a presence full of respect and loving care among them.

Elizabeth with Little sister  Ngozi ColetteElizabeth with Little sister Ngozi Colette

When I think of my country I long for all its people to come to know Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospel, the Jesus of the Beatitudes. Such words as: ‘Unless you become as little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven’, Mt 19.14 and ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do it to me’, Mt 25.44, come to mind.

My question as a Nigerian and as someone committed to her faith, is why would the spiritual family of Brother Charles be perceived as ‘counter cultural’? Is not the hidden way of Bethlehem and Nazareth the surest way to follow Jesus? Does it not mean that we are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Carpenter of Nazareth?

At the international meeting in Arusha I was very surprised, that there was no representative from Nigeria.

I think that the Lay community of Brother Charles and the Little sisters and brothers of Jesus have an important part to play in witnessing to a radical Gospel path, one of genuine love and compassion for the poorest in society and with a thirst for unity and respect between all people.

I realize that in my country there are already so many religious groups but my own personal experience is that the spirituality of Brother Charles brings something new. Let us not be tempted by big numbers and visible results and take a closer look at Jesus' own way.

Little sistersTheresaOnyeji, Marcellina and Ngozi-Colette with neighboursLittle sisters Theresa Onyji, Marcellina and Ngozi Colette with neighbours

One of the community told me how for many, the way of the Little sisters contradicts the thrust of an 'affluent' society. Their simplicity and poverty are misunderstood. Do we not have to ask ourselves if we take the Gospels seriously? Without the eyes of faith was the outcome of the life of Jesus and his dying on a cross, a success story?

Seeking to become a Little sister can only be the result of a clear and very mature choice to follow the 'poor man of Nazareth', who is their beloved brother and Lord Jesus. It calls for deep faith to follow him in his love for his Father and for every person.

I will let them tell you themselves about their work: