Sr Maureen's Vocation
“You made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you, Lord."
My name is Sister Maureen Okafor from Nigeria. I was born in Onitsha in a Catholic family for two generations. I am the third of ten children. My religious vocation was born during my junior secondary school days. At that time, I felt the desire to consecrate myself to the Lord growing in me. Especially during a seminar on religious vocation, held by a Rev. Sister, I felt strongly that this could be my way.
After finishing school, I went to my parish priest to confide my interest in religious life and ask for his advice. After asking me several questions, he advised me to get my university degree first because then I could be more useful in the convent. I followed his advice and enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering. At the University, I met a Religious Sister of the Congregation of University Sisters and told her about my interest in consecrated life. She told me that since I was still a student, I should join Altar Decorators to be closer to God’s service, which would be a first step towards my choice to serve Him. I was also a member of Legion of Mary. As a member of Legion of Mary, the work I love most is home to home visitation because this visit allows me to reach out to those in hunger for God's word and those who did not know Him yet. I loved this missionary work very much.
But after graduation, everything changed. Since I found employment almost immediately, which is very difficult in my country, I thought God was probably not calling me to religious life. Besides, my parents were so happy that I found a job that they allowed me to leave for Abuja, Nigeria's capital, even though we had no relatives or acquaintances there, but as God may have it, I didn’t have much difficulties in securing accommodation for myself. Living and working in the big city is the biggest dream, especially for young people.
So my desire to become a Sister almost vanished, and I slowly replaced it with the project of starting a family.
But the Good Lord did not stop knocking on my heart. Even though everything was going well, I wasn't satisfied with my job (first as a construction engineer and then as a teacher or marriage proposals). I didn't understand myself anymore.
Fortunately, I came to know about a lay movement of the Precious Blood of Jesus, and I began to attend their prayer meetings.
When my father passed away and not having an older male sibling, I offered to help my mother run the building materials business owned by my father. So I returned to Onitsha. Here, attending the same prayer group as in Abuja, I rediscovered that God was indeed calling me to religious life.
I came to know the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver through a friend of mine. She is currently a Sister in our Congregation as well.
I have always wanted to be a missionary to speak to people about God, and therefore the charism of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver, that is, missionary animation, was very appealing to me and the motto of our Foundress, Blessed Maria Theresa Ledòchowska: "The most divine of all divine things is to cooperate in the salvation of souls," deeply touched my heart. So in 2013, I entered the community of the Claveriane Sisters at Awgu in Nigeria. After three years of initial formation, I made my Religious First Vows.
In conclusion, I would like first of all to thank the Lord for his infinite patience with me: He waited so many years until I said "yes" to his call. I can make my own the words of St. Augustine: You made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you, Lord."
And I am happy to be part of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver. Our Congregation's primary purpose is precisely to help laypeople become aware that every Christian is a missionary by virtue of their baptism and to support them in the concrete realization of this mission.