Sis Bernadette, the Blind Teacher Formed us in Good Character, Prayer Lives – Sr. Maureen Okeke

By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba

As eulogies continue to roll on in honour of the late blind Catholic Teacher, Sister Bernadette Ofordum of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Igboukwu, an Igboukwu indigenous female religious, Sr. Dr. Maureen Okeke, MSHR, has celebrated the deceased, who she said inculcated the spirit of good works, prayer lives and humility in them.

Sr. Dr. Okeke, MSHR, who stated this in an interview to Fides at Ofordum’s funeral on March 23, said as a child, she had alongside others, passed through the tutelage of the deceased who they fondly called Sister Bene.

The late Ofordum, the blind teacher, was a Block Rosary Crusade (BRC) leader and the President, Queen of Martyrs Junior Presidium of the Legion of Mary Society in old Igboukwu Parish and currently, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Igboukwu.

According to the Igboukwu-born female religious, ‘Sister Bene as we fondly called her, was already blind before I met her. She taught us how to pray the rosary, how to go for confession, how to recite the catechism and how to, with humility, carry out a proper legion work.

Sr. Okeke, MSHR, who was happy to, have passed through the tutelage of the deceased continued, ‘Late Sister Ofordum, though blind, was not handicapped, because God blessed her with very good retentive memory. So, she learnt all the prayers and teachings of the Church, through the grace of God, saved all she learnt in her memory, and in turn, taught them to those of us that passed through her tutelage.

She recalled how the deceased as the presidium president, insisted that some of them, who were assigned to fetch firewood for an aged needy woman, repeated their legion work, because they visited the woman without firewood. The reverend sister observed that Sister Ofordum, who knew them by their voices, through her insistence and teachings, planted the spirits of humility, care for the needy and prayer in them.

The late Sister Ofordum, who died at 70 years as a spinster, was an active devotee of Blessed Virgin Mary. She was said to have gone blind at about 8 years old, after a man alleged to be evil and fetish, rubbed his hand on her head. All efforts made to treat her of the decaying head that subsequently led to her blindness, were futile.

L-R: Sr. Maureen Okeke, MSHR with an Igboukwu indigenous Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Asiegbu at the funeral ceremony. Fr. Asiegbu. Addressed the gathering on behalf of Old Igboukwu Priests and Vocational Association, at Ezigbo Village, Igboukwu, March 23, 2019.
Picture of the late Sister Benardette Ofordum, the blind Church teacher.