Discovering God's Wonders

Natalie FlorNatalie Flor

At the end of my stay here in Nigeria, I would like to share with you the wonders of God that I have
discovered. I shall start by quoting this passage of St. Paul, whichhas been my light throughout this period. "Now you together are Christ's body; but each of you is a different part of it." (1 Co 12;27).

Given the fact that I had only six months to spend for learning and improving my English, I could have been tempted to live like a stranger here, if those words of St. Paul had not touched me so deeply. Because of them, I realized that this community was mine, the Little Sisters were each part of the body to which I belonged, and so were this country and her people. So my view as a foreigner changed and I started thinking that I must do to others what I would like them to do for me: to put my hand where there was need, to open my eyes and heart, to give more joy...

Nigeria is a nice country in which foreigners are warmly welcomed almost like a king or a queen. Though people sometimes at first took me for an Igbo Little Sister, their joy was great when they realized that I was a foreigner. They happily wished me "nno" ("Welcome") and told me to feel at home-what I have always felt during my stay. The language has not been a barrier
but a cause of more attention and love.

I am touched by how our neighbors and friends have understood and accepted the community. They are always willing to help us in farming, sweeping the big compound, cutting palm fruits and making palm oil, cutting coconuts, andpreparing "gari" (ground fried cassava). It is often the poorest ones who give their time for work. And they don't want to take money, which would be so precious for them because they could get something for their families.  Instead, they would only ask us
to pray for them. However, as we know their plight, we tried to see how we can share with them what we also received from others: clothes, food, etc. But this is nothing compared with what they do for us. OnlyGod will be their reward because they are doing it out of their great love for him.

I think one of the reasons for this relationship is the fruit of the great love of the Little Sisters for their people. No one can come during a meal without being invited to the table to eat with them, unless the person refuses. They have made their own these words of Jesus: 'Whoever welcomes you welcomes me." In the same way, the greatest values of African culture are stillbeing kept like a treasure. For instance, a child cannot pass an elder without greeting, if not he or she would be scolded by the elder.

The region is in need of more Little Sisters from other countries in order to have an international face.  It is not only a great witness for the people to see us living together from different nationalities but it will enrich the
community as well. For our diversity is one of our riches.

As for my English, I am getting better than when I arrived and I have to continue practicing in order to make less mistakes.  I am very, very grateful to L. Sr. Magdeleine Francoise who was willing to give me one hour a day for English class. In spite of her age she still has a very strong memory and great patience withme.   Thank you so much. I also thank the Little Sisters from the country who helped me with great affection and love
and made me feel very much at home.  I was able to get involved in all aspects of life, and even to learn a few words in Igbo.They were willing to explain the homilies to me after Mass each day. Eziokwu (in truth) everything is possible when there is love. May God bless you!

In spite of our weakness and differences in temperament, wetry to live out what we are called to. In Nigeria, like elsewhere, we were sometimes hurt by our different points of view; but we learn how to express ourselves, and God has enabled us to receive life through these situations.

I said at the beginning that we discovered the marvels of the Lord. Really we are sometimes far from knowing the realities of a country if we haven't lived there.

I ended my stay with a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity in Onitsha. Having heard that the relics of Blessed Fr. Michael Iwene Tansi   were kept there, I had been longing to see it. So I went there for Mass with Little Sister Monica on the feast dayof the basilica, the feast of the Holy Trinity which I love.

Parting is always a death, but it is for more life and love.  It is possible to nurture love and friendship between people of different countries. And it is possible to know people not only by hearing about them but also by living with them. Together on the way we continue looking forward to the day we shall all become one people really.

Little sisters Natalie Flor, Ngozi
Okoye, novices Nkechi and Uju, and Magdaleine FrancoiseLittle sisters Natalie Flor, Ngozi
Okoye, novices Nkechi and Uju, and Magdaleine Francoise