Christmas in Nigeria

Sr. Dolores Kearney reports from Ibadan, Nigeria as preparations continue for Christmas.

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We started our preparations for Christmas on December 8th when Archbishop of Ibadan, Dr. Gabriel Leke Abengurin, invited all priests and religious to Mass, followed by lunch. I would say we were around two hundred in attendance. The Archbishop visited every table and spoke to us. He even brought me greetings from Ardfoyle where he said he had visited few weeks previous. There too, I met for the first time, Sr Brid Greville, RSC.

On the December 14th we had a slightly different celebration when we visited our Maryhill Convent primary school, where there are over seven hundred pupils, ranging in age from about three years to age eleven years. Here again we started with Mass, celebrated by a priest from the parish. Also present at this Mass and celebration were two priests, both past pupils of the school, one was just ordained this year. The other was taught by Sr Maria Lee and he says his memories of Maryhill are all very good and he enjoyed his years there. After Mass each of the classes presented their sketches of which there was great variety. Here again the talent was remarkable even from the kindergarten classes. To complete the show, we had the Nativity play with a real live baby, who never cried during the whole performance. This programme began at 10am and finished around 3 pm, a long day even for me!

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One of the 'sketches' by children of Maryhill Convent Primary School. Image courtesy of Sr. Dolores Kearney.


For me, however, last Sunday (December 17th) was my big day of celebration. On this day, some of our Sisters arrived from Lagos to attend a Youth Camp, organised by SMA and OLA. They brought me a bag of letters and some gifts from my OLA family. No gift, even from my childhood days from Santa was as much appreciated!

So this is our way of preparing for Christmas in Ibadan. Now that we are into the final week, we are pondering on what next.

Christmas Day will see packed churches and everybody dressed in their best clothes - at least that is what I remember it from before. Lots of families go back to their family home too to be with parents. The prices of chicken and other Christmas food items increases in price during these days and can be in scarce supply.

Will I miss being in Ireland for Christmas? I think on Christmas Day when my family start phoning I certainly will miss it but at present there is a lot going on so there isn’t a chance to think about it too much!

Wishing all a happy and blessed Christmas!


- Sr. Dolores Kearney