In the past few weeks we have experienced an abundance of blessings in the form of visitors to our area. Joining Dr. Chris at the Blattners’ home are Sr. Oresoa and Sr. Felicia. After a circuitous route from Nigeria to Baltimore, the good Sisters arrived at the Blattners’ home on Tuesday (10/19).
Sr. Oresoa was persistent to start an order of nuns that devoted their time to the poorest of the poor in Africa. Her story is very similar to that of Mother Teresa. Sister came from a fairly well-to-do family (her father was a chief). Her requests to start a new order were declined by the Archdiocese of Nigeria. But then – here is blessing – she had a private audience with Pope John Paul II and he was most impressed with her vision. The Pope said to the Archdiocese, “Support this woman!”. This happened just two weeks before he died.
Sr. Oresoa is the founder of the Anawim Homes (three different locations) which provides help in many forms to the poor , the elderly, the orphans and the homeless in her local community in Nigeria. Sr. Felicia leads one of the Anawim Homes. Both Sisters arrived in New Orleans (with limited funds) for the first stop on their American trip. The limit to the funds was a conscious decision by Sr. Oresoa. Her philosophy is that virtually all of the resources that are made available to her should go to the benefit of her programs at the Anawim Homes. The next stop on the American adventure was Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Sr. Oresoa attended college.. Consistent with her frugal approach to financial management, the Sisters chose to drive to Milwaukee, a trip of approximately 1,500 miles! As one could imagine, this drive took its toll on the Sisters. While their stay in Milwaukee was most joyful and restful, the prospect of continuing the adventure to Timonium, Maryland by car was most daunting. The budget allowed and remaining funds for this leg of the trip was only a few hundred dollars. A phone call one evening by Sr. Oresoa to a member of one of the missionaries from the Church of the Nativity in 2009 resulted in a pair of complimentary tickets to a flight to Timonium. Another blessing! One catch, the flight was departing from Chicago the next day and another drive of approximately 140 miles was now in order. Well they survived the last drive and arrived in Timonium none the worse for wear.
Having both Sr. Oresoa and Dr. Chris (the HFWA most treasured partners) together is really a cause for celebration! In fact there were a few. At one of the gatherings, it was most inspiring to hear them discuss a partnership between Anawim Home and Faith Alive Hospital to provide medical care for children at the Anawim Home orphanage facilitated through the Faith Alive Children Fund.
One of the children growing up at the Anawim Home is Daniel, a child born with spina bifida and is a paraplegic. As the other children run out to play, he tells Sr. Oresoa, “I am left behind because I have no legs”. Now 5 years old, he has become too heavy for the sisters to carry around. There is a blessing in this case also but the way in which God worked on this one is awesome. You will see in the words of Diane Blattner which follow:
“Saturday morning I drove into the driveway of my home and see my husband Bill lifting a child size wheel chair from the back of the minivan. He found it at the Goodwill for $50! This was the third wheel chair brought home for our son John who is recovering from a long illness and was planning to walk in the Light the Night Lymphoma Leukemia Society fundraising event that evening. The other two chairs loaned to us both had problems. This one was perfect for Daniel and John.! It was "so God working behind the scene" because Bill was unaware of Daniel's need.
John walked nearly a mile at the event and was grateful to rest in Daniel's chair to the finish line. This wonderful chair is now traveling with Sister Oresoa and Sister Felicia to Nigeria to bring joy to a child whose heart's desire is to be with his peers.” Again, a blessing!
While here, Srs. Oresoa and Felicia visited and worshipped at the Church of the Nativity. Sr. Oresoa was happy to see some old friends and meet everyone. After mass, the Sisters joyfully handed out cards about the Anawim Home to all the parishioners. The sisters have now left here to go to other places in the U.S. before returning home to Nigeria. Our partners from Nigeria have generated many blessings while here. It was an honor to spend time with them.
1. Sr. Oresoa, Dr.Chris, Sr. Felicia in front of the Church of the Nativity
2. Sr. Felicia, Brian Crook - the Director of Missions for the Church of the Nativity, Sr. Oresoa