There is a time for everything, a time to live and a time to die! Thus death came knocking and suddenly departed with one of us. Ours is to live and die, not to ask God, 'why?' According to William Penn, death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. Oh! The 16th of February 2022, the eternal birthday of our beloved Sr. Stella Ikpendu Udeh, O.P.
Adieu, Dear Sr. Keep resting in the bosom of God till we meet to part no more.
The life and Times of Sr. Stella Udeh, O.P.
A child was born on the 27th of September, 1964 to the family of Pa Udeh and Nne Chikwaru both of blessed memories in Nenwe, Awgu Local Government Area, then Anambra State. Antie Ste or Mother Ste, as was fondly called, was the youngest of the six children of their parents. She lost both parents at a very tender age and lived with her elder brother in Enugu, then later in life, with her elder Sister in Sokoto.
SACRAMENTAL LIFE: The young Stella was baptised and received her first Holy Communion in 1975. Her confirmation took place in 1991 shortly after her reception as a Postulant. In celebrating her confirmation, a new name ‘LySte’ coined from Lydia (her confirmation name) and her baptismal name, Stella, was given to her by her fellow Postulants.
EDUCATION: Sister Ste had her primary education at the Community Primary School in Agbada Nenwe and attended the Girls’ High School Nenwe. A few years after her first profession as a religious, she gained admission into the Institute of Medical Laboratory Science and Technology of Nigeria located in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and obtained a Higher National Diploma (HND) in 2003. She obtained a B.Sc. in Public Health and Allied Sciences from the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, Sunyani. Sister held a certificate in Finance from SLDI/ASEC.
RELIGIOUS LIFE: On the 10th of February, 1991, our dear Sister was received into the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, Nigeria as a Postulant along with 10 other young women (the class was fondly called “The Motley Crew” by Sr. Terence Wasinger, OP, one of our Sisters from the United State missioned to Yelwa-Yauri) and had their postulancy in Yelwa-Yauri (then Sokoto State). They had their novitiate formation from the 7th day of October 1993 in Gusau. She had her First Religious Profession on the 14th of October, 1993 along with seven of her classmates and her Perpetual Profession was in Gusau on September 7, 2002, together with four other Sisters. With two of her classmates, Sister celebrated her Silver Jubilee of religious profession on the 13th October 2018 in Gusau.
APOSTOLATES: The young Sr. Stella was assigned to work in our community in Sokoto town after her First profession and later in St. Mary’s Catholic Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, FCT after her graduation as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. She and two other Sisters were missioned to work in Ghana in 2008 as the pioneer members for the new congregational apostolates there. The three Sisters worked very hard in the new mission and the other two were re-assigned to Nigeria while Sr. Stella remained and finally died in Ghana after 14 years of dedicated and faithful service as a Senior Biomedical Laboratory Scientist in Anthony Ann Hospital, Donyina, Kumasi, Ghana. Mother Ste also participated in the life of Donyina Parish by helping to distribute communion in the Church and also to the elderly in their homes, taught catechism and did community visitations.
OFFICES/POSTS HELD IN THE ANTHONY ANN HOSPITAL, DONYINA AND DIOCESE: She served as a member in the following: Procurement Committee, Hospital Disciplinary Committee, IPC Team, Drafting Committee of Internal Disciplinary Code and Management Board. Served as a Secretary to the Konongo-Mampong Women Religious and a Member SLDI/ASEC.
NATIONAL AWARD RECEIVED: Sr. Stella Udeh, OP received National recognition by the Ghana National Medical Excellence Award (GNMEA) as Runner-UP DIAGNOSTIC SCIENCE CATEGORY of 2021.
HER LIFE AND PERSON: Antie Ste was a gentle, caring and focused person who seldom spoke, but keenly followed discussions in any group she belonged and will give a very good laugh to any funny thing of interest, a laughter that was highly contagious to those around her. She preferred spending her time with only a few friends she made and maintained. At every point in time, she hated idleness and quarrelling. Mother Ste was very good at giving counsel, a peace-lover and a bridge builder. She immediately regretted her actions after hurting anybody. She loved studying, acting plays, dancing and doing house chores. Sister was indeed a “STELLA” i.e. “A STAR” in the way and manner she conducted herself and related to people.
In her autobiography submitted as an Aspirant to the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters, she wrote and I quote, “What will give me the greatest satisfaction in my life as a Dominican Sister is that I am with God always in every activity I find myself. And last of all, that I die with Him”. This desire was seen in the way and manner in which she lived her life from the very moment she joined the congregation 31 years ago up till the moment she was called back to eternal rest by her Creator. Yes, her last desire to die in God was granted her as our beloved Sister was called to eternal rest by her Creator immediately after performing her spiritual duties that fateful morning of February 16, 2022.
Sr. Ste, we will miss your gentle presence, counsel, dedication, hard work and good laughter in our midst. It is a fact that where we are now, you were once and where you are now, we also will be. So, we seek your intercession to live out our Christian life faithfully that at the end of time, we shall celebrate in the heavenly banquet.
REST ON OUR DEAR SISTER, MOTHER STE!!! ADIEU ANTIE STE!!!