Here is the complete definitive text of the funeral oration of the Sisters of the sacred heart of Jesus. It was delivered by Sr. Augustina Chigozie Okoroafor, SSH, on the Funeral Mass of Sr. Dr. Henrietta Ebosiogwe Alokha, SSH on March 26, 2020, at the Sacred Heart Novitiate Chapel, Atani-Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria.
THE LEGACY OF A HEROINE:
A FULFILLED LIFE
In the beginning, from the Spouse’s Heart,
Came the first call: “Come, follow me!”.
How, to where, no one knew, no one foretells.
Loud and clear, nonetheless, was the “Yes”,
Firm, unmistakable the “Here I am, Lord”.
The feast has begun.
Why not tomorrow?
Surprised, wondering, worried,
Pained, united, though still dazed,
In the gathering of the faithful, the
Lord speaks to them.
A stranger runs across, no one saw him.
The sky speaks flames. A strange sight appeared.
The children are fleeing,
The staff, the families anxious,
Panic, stampede must be avoided.
They tried to gather them.
Gbam! Gbam!!!! Like a bomb it sounds.
The roof shook,
The whole community and beyond shook,
Bethlehem Girls College is levelled.
The children shiver.
The Sisters were searching, and
Re-searching with strength renewed.
Fear has disappeared.
This can't happen to them, get up!!!!!
The building collapses,
Everywhere confusion reigns.
Help! Help!! Help!!!
Where are the fire fighters? It’s fire! No! No!
It sounds like a bomb, bombs may be.
Children are running,
Adults are running, and calling.
Sr. Henri!! Sr. Henri!!! Come out! Come out!
The hand of caution waves...
Where are you?
The phone is ringing,
None is picking.
Still searching for you, frantically
Waiting for your coming,
Praying for your coming,
Hoping for your coming, and…
She is no more.
Is it true?
The heroine is gone,
A shining star, faster than comet, exited.
Gone home too soon.
Your beauty, in and out, and
Your legacy remain,
In memory impressed, unforgettable.
Taking care that the students learnt and were safe: Your mission.
To save them, your beloved children, you died.
Your students live,
The parents gain new life.
A worse tragedy averted,
The nation’s relief.
The people’s joy and hope not annihilated.
What a sweet, heroic death!
We salute your courage.
The martyr is gone, bearing witness.
Dying, you live. We live.
Consecrated for life,
The educator instructed,
Nurtured and led by example.
Thank you, Obekha , for saving them,
Your students, our children.
Thank you for the sense of duty and commitment, Thank you for giving your life for them.
Thank you for the good fight.
Thank you for the faith and sacrificial love.
Edited with our Superior General, your classmate, the book of custom is ready. An excellent job!
It’s on March 15, 2020, what a gloomy Sunday!
With tears in our eyes, we thank you.
Thank you, our editor.
Thank you for The Catholic Voyage, yes, for promoting Consecrated life.
Thank you for your dedication and objectivity.
Thank you for your consistent principled
Thank you for being a true Shepherd.
Thank you, a true Mother.
Thank you, a true Daughter of the Sacred Heart
We thank and commiserate with your biological family, the Alokhas.
You teach us to live a life,
Long or short, to the full:
Doing good, being ourselves,
loving and serving others until the end.
Thank you for encouraging us to be real and authentic.
Your words re-echo:
"Just be yourself and live your life, not living to impress people";
"Some people preoccupy their minds
with what they will be remembered for, Yetsee!
Just live your life freely and do
what you ought to do — simple!”
Thank you for being a realist.
Thank you for inspiring us
to remain at our duty post,
to live the Spirit and Charism of our Congregation,
to be concerned about the wellbeing of Sisters at old age, but you left us before old age.
Our dear Chapter Planning Committee Chairperson, thank you.
For your outstanding, respected, admired, Enduring contributions toward the imminent General Chapter and the entire Congregation, thank you.
That we may be strengthened and achieve success at this and subsequent General Chapters, pray for us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Thank you, our courageous woman, for being a mother to many, an educator.
Thank you for being our sister.
Your classmate misses you,
Your birthday mate misses you,
Your namesake misses you,
Our Founder misses you,
Sacred Heart Sisters are missing you,
The Alokha family are missing you,
The entire Catholic Church is missing you,
The whole world is missing you.
Your intimate friends are deep in tears, missing you.
Your admirers and mentorees seem to lose hope, but are emboldened to emulate you.
Your companions on the journey are in tears, but keep journeying.
Because dying, you live, our bonds unbroken.
You have left us with many mysteries
Surrounding the heroic way you passed on.
The whole world celebrates you.
We heard them acclaim
A great and virtuous woman of God,
An audacious woman,
A brave heroine,
A rescuer from danger and tragedy.
Yes, these and more you are. A divine gift to all.
You lived a fulfilled, happy life.
On the sands of time, you have left your footprints with glory.
Everyone will know your name and shall recall your glory.
Thank you, the saint of our time,
The Lord’s glory awaits you, awaits all.
Remember us, still pilgrims:
Nigeria may have failed you and others.
May it not fail again.
May we not fail you.
Pray for us.
Pray that we may remain one even in our diversities.
Sleep on amiable orator,
Sleep on the great singer,
Sleep on beautiful and faithful bride of the Sacred Heart,
Sleep on a woman of great intellect and integrity,
Greet the departed committed members of our family.
Arise in glory!
Rest on in the Lord.
In Jesus, we are one!
Prepared by the Religious Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and delivered by Sr. Augustina Chigozie Okoroafor, SSH.