Sister Martina Oforka
Above photo is of Sister Martina Oforka with visible stigmata.
July 19, 2014 Reported [newtelegraphonline.com]. Sister Martina Oforka bears the supposed marks of the crucified Christ on her body. But in spite of her own terrible physical suffering, she is committed to bringing joy to people everywhere who suffer. Uwakwe Abugu writes on the stigmata nun’s efforts to free people from spiritual bondage, rescue abandoned babies and provide a home for the homeless Other than undiluted love for and genuine empathy with the real under-privileged, there is hardly anything else that could have inspired anyone to journey into an unfamiliar territory and, against all odds, insist on establishing an integrated rehabilitation home for those who, otherwise, might have waded through life in utter hopelessness.
That is the story of Sister Martina Oforka, the serial stigmata from Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Area of Anambra State who capped her missionary zeal by founding the Divine Wounds Group of Schools, about a kilometre from the comprehensive spiritual home, both located in Umuagbedo Agu, a very remote part of Amachala community in Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state. A visit to the home, which has successfully retraced what might have been the derailed lives and dreams of many orphans and indigent children, reveals an atmosphere of enigmas at work. First, is the physical appearance of the founder of the apostolate, Rev. Sister Oforka, a stigmata who manifests all the halos of stigmatism, especially during the symbolic agony of Easter, All Saints and All Souls Days observed as solemnities by Catholics worldwide.
Particularly endearing is her missionary journey to a community that has remained so far removed from urbanisation that could have ameliorated the forgotten community’s depravity in terms of provision of modern amenities. According to Oforka, hailing from far away Oraifite, she never knew that part of Enugu state before. However, a peep into her life history could reveal her undying love for orphans. She was said to have lost her mother as a pupil and became a full-time orphan in 1990 when her father also died. Since then, wading through life’s rigours and relying on her religious vows in the Catholic Church, especially as she has been operating in the arena of religious austerity, her visage writes volumes of this state of affairs. When New Telegraph met her during the graduation ceremony of students in her group of schools, she wore a lean and hungry look, unlike most of her religious colleagues. The scars from her experiences of stigmata have hotch-potched her face with dark marks while austere religious observances have left her once robust cheeks sunken, as if receding into the cavity of her mouth.
In the premises of the Divine Wounds ‘black marks’ Apostolate, which is home to her and her 56 orphaned inmates and about 20 other children who have found shelter in the home owing to the harsh circumstances of their respective lives before she rescued them, are other strange things making the environment sombre, especially to a first time visitor. For instance, as one approaches the entrance to the very modest spiritual house, a grim announcer and museum for arrested deities and charms, a powerful and pungent odour, nauseatingly unfriendly to the nostrils, hits your nostrils, even before their weird visage assaults your psyche. Yet, some dogs that complement the security apparatchik for the home would create a stir for the first time visitor. And last weekend when New Telegraph journeyed to the apostolate that has become a pilgrimage destination of sorts, the dogs did scare this reporter even as the host, Rev. Sister Oforka, spoke to them in a language they easily obeyed.
A Harsh Experience On a Bad Road:
Even the journey to the area from Enugu metropolis was a clear experience in stoic existence; a harsh experience on a terrible road to a forgotten community. The road is one of the worst this reporter has traversed in recent times. That may have accounted for a drawback instinct that came calling twice in the course of the trip when it appeared the journey could not continue as it continued to seem to stretch to the crack of gloom and despair, to borrow from Shakespeare.
Clearly, at that point of frustration and trepidation a foreboding of the proverbial journey of no return, welled up in the subconscious, as the reporter struggled in a Toyota Carina car, trailing behind his guide, a retired school principal in Enugu State, Mr. Titus Omenma, who waded on in a more rugged utility vehicle. However, the tourist and the tour-guide, after successfully maneuvering the near-gullies; countless unsettling projectiles that jut into the road and over-grown grasses on the very bad and long road, the journey ended when the party hit the Divine Wounds Schools at about 5pm. Surprisingly, when the stigmata nun spoke to our reporter on her austere missionary journey to that part of Enugu State, she appealed to the Igbo-Eze North council and Enugu State government to come to the aid of her group of schools in view of the humanitarian act of catering for the education of the 76 inmates of the apostolate but she did not say anything about the shame of the road that leads to that community which is home to her epic feat of humanitarianism that has planted joy in the hearts of several orphans.
On that faithful Friday, the joy of eight orphaned children who have been inmates of that Apostolate knew no bounds as they moved up the academic ladder at their Divine Wounds Schools in the community. One of them, Johnpaul Okonkwo, aged 13 and hails from Imo state, was said to have been picked up as an abandoned baby in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, and he wore his graduation gown, having rounded off his primary education as the school celebrated the orphans who have moved up on the academic ladder. Another child identified as Chidera, aged two, was said to have been abandoned by her mother who has been mentally challenged.
She graduated from the nursery one session of the school, and for those who knew her life history, she was a cynosure of all eyes. Speaking to New Telegraph on the import of the occasion graced by a huge crowd of pilgrims and natives, she confirmed, as some of the pilgrims told us, that she has been performing miracles by virtue of her endowment in stigmatism. And she also said “it has been a fulfilling experience, picking up abandoned babies, orphans and the less-privileged and working to nurture them to greatness. According to her, “it gives me immense joy in the Lord when I rescue pregnant and unmarried young women at the point when they contemplate aborting their unborn babies.
And I have always assured any of such victims that I would take care of her till she delivers. I will nurture the child after which I will hand the child over to the mother. She explained that there are over 70 inmates of her orphanage while the group of schools comprising nursery, primary and secondary schools have a population of over 200 pupils and students. Rev. Sister Oforka called on governments at all levels, especially in Enugu state, to come to the aid of the school in the provision of infrastructures, explaining that the curriculum of the school emphasizes skills acquisition in view of the social realities that stare the orphans in the face after graduation.
Testimonies Of Miracles and Fighting Evils In Society:
Commenting on the occasion and the activities of the Divine Wound Apostolate and its schools catering for the less-privileged, former secretary to Igbo-Eze North council area, Hon. Francis Ujah, who was a guest on the occasion, said: “I can tell you that we can see Jesus here in this our community. I say this because our sister has got most of the attributes of Jesus whom the Bible tells us went about doing good and relating with the wretched of the earth, and in this case, this is a young woman who has all the opportunities to live in the urban area and enjoy all the amenities of modern life but has chosen to quarantine herself in this very remote community in Enugu state to take care of those she did not know from Adam.” Hon. Ujah pointed to many salvage measures that the stigmata nun has undertaken to destroy deities that have kept many victims in bondage and also killing many. She talked about the case of one deity to which 45 cows have so far been sacrificed. Mr. Omenma, who was our tour guide, recalled his first meeting with the nun.
He said: “My first contact with her was when I was a principal at Inyi Community in Igbo- Eze North local government when she was crusading with some women to stop ritual killings which had claimed so many lives in that area.” The former school boss stated that apart from her awesome spiritual gifts which endow her with the power to perform miracles, she has embarked on very difficult missions to salvage those caught in the web of present day sinful acts of sexual immorality and the attendant abandonment of newborn babies or the sin of aborting unborn babies. Also within the premises of the apostolate, our reporter saw some aged persons. On inquiry it was discovered that the nun has also been handling some isolated cases of abandoned old people as well as cases of mentally challenged persons.