DUMO LULU-BRIGGS CHAIRS 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF DAUGHTERS OF DIVINE LOVE CONGREGATION, AT REGINA PACIS COLLEGE, ABUJA

David Diai

Prominent Rivers State Philanthropist and renowned statesman, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, joined the Sisters of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation, Abuja, in a commemorative ceremony as part of activities to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the DDL Congregation, on May 19, 2019.

The golden jubilee celebration event held at the Regina Pacis College, Abuja and Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs accepted with great humility, the exceptional honour to serve as Chairman of the epochal Occasion, in honour of the invitation graciously extended to him by the Pope’s representative in Nigeria and Africa, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Arch Bishop of Abuja.

This gesture to make the Port Harcourt born Philanthropist chairman of the occasion, it was learnt, was in recognition of his firm commitment to humanitarian services in Nigeria and beyond and especially in appreciation of how his own life has reflected an adherence to the charism of the DDL which embraces an ardent response to God’s call to love Him and others, in the way and manner Christ did; a self-sacrificing love, as well as the Mission of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation which, impelled by the Gospel of Christ and the Spirit of our Founder, calls on the Daughters to exhibit a courageous loving response to Divine Love Incarnate in Contemplation, Harmonious community living and Apostolic action,aaaaaà made visible in selfless liberating service to the entire creation.

Another creed of the DDL, which equally resonates strongly with the principles of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is the quote by Fulton Shee, which serves as food for thought and constant reminder of the societal responsibility of the Daughters: “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction”. — Fulton Shee

The Daughters of Divine Love Congregation is an indigenous Congregation of Women Religious charity organization and the fruit of the labour of the early Missionaries in Nigeria, without affiliations to any foreign Congregation.

Operating with the motto: “Caritas Christi urget nos”, taken from: 2 Cor 5:14 (“..it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize”), which also feeds the guiding doctrine of the Sisters “To commemorate the infinite love of God”, DDL was founded on 16th July 1969, at Ukpor, Anambra State, Nigeria, by Most Rev. Dr. Godfrey Mary Paul Okoye C.S.Sp, at a very disturbing and agonizing time when the Nigeria/Biafra civil war was raging in Eastern Nigeria.

Bishop Okoye, a native Nigerian Bishop, was born on 19th December, 1915, at his home town Ifite-Ukpo now known as Ifitedunu in Anambra State. He was ordained a diocesan priest on 27th July, 1947, which made him one of the pioneer indigenous priests in the country and his first Parish work as a priest was at Elele. He became the first Bishop of Port Harcourt, serving from 3 September 1961 to 7 March 1970.

He was barely seven years in Port Harcourt when the Nigeria/Biafra civil war broke out and when Port Harcourt capitulated, he was rendered a Bishop without a seat and had to take refuge in any parish where the priest welcomed him, which gave helped him focus on the needs of the time. He served as a roving ambassador for the Church and the people and was instrumental in getting international Relief Agencies and the World Council of Churches to bring relief materials of food and clothing to address the needs of the suffering war refugees.

One of his roving visits took him to Ukpor and by Divine intervention, the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Love was born, in the midst of this most agonizing suffering and strife. DDL’s Canonical Status was established when it was granted Pontifical recognition in 1991and has since its founding, continued to show Love to the world and commemorate the infinite love of God.

Like an acorn, the DDL has grown to become an international Congregation. For administrative convenience, it is organized in twelve regions: Abuja, America, English, Enugu, Gabon, Germany, Issele-Uku, Italy, Kenya, Nsukka, Onitsha and Orlu. The Administrative Headquarters is located in Enugu from where the Mother General in Council, Rev. Mother Mary Anastasia Dike, DDL (Mother General), works with the Regional Superiors of the various regions and assigns Daughters to various parts of the world, where they work in collaboration with the Church and State to impact on the people of God, for the growth of the Church and the reinforcement of the Kingdom of God.

The congregation to date, has numerous sisters ministering in Africa and all over the world, all committed to tackling the scourge of poverty and upholding the virtues of Chastity and Obedience. They also dedicate themselves to contemplation and apostolic work and embrace such ministries as: Catechetical, Domestic work, Education, Health care, Counselling, Legal Practice, Prison and Home visitation, Pro-life, Liturgical Vestments and all types of Clerical dresses, Hospitality/Catering services, Charity Home, Agricultural, Social services and apostolate of the Presence.

It is important to note that the affairs of this noble Congregation, which faced near extinction and disbandment, when its founder passed on in 1977, have been piloted since then by three great rare gems lead by their Superior General: Rev. Mother Maria Ifechukwu Udorah, Rev. Mother Maria Angela Uwalaka (Late) and Rev. Mother Maria Chilota Elochukwu. They enjoyed the blessing and support of Bishop Michael Eneja who succeeded Bishop Godfrey Okoye, as well as the gallant efforts of the Association of the Friends of the Daughters and their leader, Dr. Winifred Kaine.

The members of the congregation are known by their Habit which comprises of white and blue materials. The choice of colours are based on the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is looked upon as the Ideal model and paragon and thus worthy of imitation in religious life. White is a symbol of purity and perfect charity which they aim at and strive for in daily life. Dressed impeccably in their white cassocks and blue veil, they serve in various countries including: Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Chad, England, Scotland, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. They are also in Austria, Belgium and France. as well as in the Americas: Cuba, Jamaica, United States, and Haiti.

Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his entourage were welcomed to Regina Pacis College, the venue of the Golden jubillee celebration, by the Principal, Revd. Sister Ugonna Igbo and her staff.

Regina Pacis College started operations on November 22, 1991, with 32 students at Pope John Paul Centre, Wuse II, Abuja. It is an All-Girls’ Secondary School, conceived 25 years ago by His Eminence Cardinal Ekandem, the then Arch- Bishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese and from inception, it was placed under the tutelage of “Daughters of Divine Love” (DDL) Congregation

The school has steadily grown over the years and presently has a burgeoning student population, complimented by an excellent staff strength delivering an all-round education to its students, all of whom put up a splendid show of songs, dance, recitations, drama and uplifting choral music, spiced with prayers and exhortations for the chairman of the Occasion, his guests, the church, the country, the Daughters and the impressive congregation that witnessed the 50th Anniversary celebration.

Speaking at the end of the rousing performances and other well packaged interludes that hallmarked the colourful occasion, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who was accompanied by distinguished associates and friends including Elder Iyk Oji (JP), former Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly and Hon. Nelson Amieye, amongst others, expressed gratitude to the Church and to God for finding him worthy of such exalted and noble assignment

“I feel gratified by this venerated recognition to serve as the chairman of the occasion marking the 50th anniversary of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation. Nothing can be more fulfilling than identifying with God’s servants for service to humanity. To God be the glory,” he enthused with bubbling joy and happiness.

Highlights of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation, Abuja, was a March past by the students of Regina Packs college which Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his delegation heartily participated in with bouncing and stylish steps, and the cutting of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary cake which was performed by the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation, the Reverend Fathers and Ministers in attendance and their special guests.

Source report by Uche Woke,
SA – Media to DLB

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