…Continued from last edition
By Mercy Hill
Still on What Happened at the Juniorate
Being a human, the gossip about my living in Okpoko took a pound of my flesh. It is one experience that affected me mentally, socially, psychologically and otherwise. It also made me loose the two friends that I had as they joined the gossip group. But I made up my mind never to be deterred or demoralized by the experience.
I rather focused more on my studies. Why I shared this is to let children who could commit suicide to rather do better as it pushed me in doing better so as to change the family story.
That is how I continued my life by ignoring them and I maintained my position until I wrote my WAEC. They wanted to be my friend so that I can help them in the exams. In Juniorate, if you are caught talking to someone or cheating, it is expulsion. It made me not to have anything with them.
After our WAEC, I had the best result. I told my brother to buy me clothes to enable me look good on the day of our send-off. He frowned at it and saw no need of getting new clothes just for the send-off. Luckily for me, a man who lives in Aba and was still serving the man my brother served heard what happened, and volunteered to get me the cloth.
He said he would get me the ones that were not too expensive but served the purpose. When I saw the dress, I was excited because they bought a very nice dress for me. It seemed to be one of the best worn by my peers.
What happened after your Secondary School?
After my secondary school, my brother wanted me to marry a man of his own choice for his own stake. He wanted to be elevated in his business. I did not like the man; I have never seen him then. My brother who never wanted me to go close to people but always wanted me to keep the man company.
Immediately my brother goes out, I will just tell the man to get out of the house. My refusal of marrying the man he wanted created a big problem between us. He said “I will train you with money I am making and you don’t want me to make the money”. My dad died after my SS2 exams.
He meant good for me but I know it wasn’t that easy too and I respect him so much. He wanted me to marry a son of his friend whom he believed would take good care of me. It was at a time where marriage decisions were taken by parents unlike now.
It was around 1993/1994. My mother too indicated her interest in marrying someone else. At 17, with the whole lot of options I became very confused. I love my mum so much; making my father happy was also another thing I was considering but that of my brother’s option was terrifying to me.
I never wanted to be a reverend sister. I just needed a good training to change the history as I was seeing the suffering in the family. My desire was to change the narrative. In school I discovered that people working in oil company were the ones taking good care of their children well.
Seeing that, I vowed to study chemical engineering for me to work in Shell Company and take good care of my siblings. I also had phobia for blood.
When I discovered that my brother was pushing for me to marry the man he wanted me to, I told my mother that I want to runaway should I be pushed to do that. On December 18, 1993 I told my mum that I will run away and that I would not do my Christmas at home.
That was because I envisaged that my brother’s quest might be fulfilled if I stayed home, since I didn’t have the power to say no to his request. I ran to the convent in Umuhaia, Abia State. At the Sisters’ house, I told them all that had happened to me and explained further my intention of not being a Reverenced Sister. I told them I wanted to stay for some time until I figure out what to do next.
My brother was looking for me everywhere and had decided to leave me to do anything I wanted to do. Within the months of January and February I stayed in the convent, I admired them so much.
That was how I joined. I never had any premonition that I will be a Reverend Sister. I told the Mother General my intention and she advised that I should pray and sleep over it. I never had any relation that would guide me on the choice to make.
Her Journey to the Sisterhood
In April, 1994 I started as a postulant. I made my first visit to home as a postulant. My mother prepares breadfruit that she sells. She was the only one at home then. She had many to sell but no one to help her do the hawking. I saw the pain in her eyes. I didn’t know whether a postulant can wear her habit and sell.
I went to the Superior of my Congregation who was at St. Jude Fegge, Onitsha. I explained to her of my mother issues and begged if I could help her. She looked at me and said: ‘I have never been faced with such a plea”.
And she told me: “remove your habit (cloth) and go to sell for her, after selling you should put on your religious habit when you come back”. And that was what I did. I would remove my habit, go to hawk, and put it on when I come back. I enjoyed my holiday. It made my mother happy.
Being a medical doctor as a Reverend Sister
I was told by my Mother General that the science teacher in Juniorate wanted me to study medicine. Studying medicine was something I was scared of because I could not stand blood.
I told her I wanted to study chemical engineering but she encouraged me to buy JAMB form to study medicine. I did well in the exams but I was one of the last to be sent to school. I believe that was how God wanted it.
To be continued….