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How the Rosary became my life: Story of an orphan

The Orphan

I was an eighteen year old orphaned girl, wandering the rough streets of Lagos, Nigeria, with no one to turn to. I had lost both of my parents to a terrible illness, and I was left to fend for myself. I had had to drop out of school. And all I did now was scavenge for food, sleep on the streets, and do whatever menial job I could do to survive. I felt like I had no hope, no future.

One day, I stumbled upon a Church. It was a small, quiet church, tucked away in a corner of the busy Oshodi area of Lagos. I had never been inside a church before, but something drew me in. I walked up to the altar and saw the statue of a woman in one corner. I didn’t know who she was, but I felt a strange sense of comfort just looking at her.

As I was about to leave, an older woman approached me. “Do you know how to pray the rosary?” she asked me kindly, stretching a beaded pendant in my direction.

I shook my head, confused.

“Well, let me teach you,” she said, smiling. And she did. She showed me how to hold the beads, how to recite each prayer. It felt strange at first, but as we prayed together, I felt a sense of peace wash over me.

“You can keep this chaplet,” she said. “Anytime you’re around this side of town feel free to stop by and say hello to Mama Mary?”

“Mama Mary?” I asked.

“Yes. That’s the woman whose stature you were gazing at when I saw you.” She pressed some money into my hands and left the Church, all the while smiling at me.

After that day, I started coming to the Church every day to pray the rosary. It became my refuge, my sanctuary from the harsh reality of the streets. I felt like I had a purpose, something to hold onto.

One day, as I was leaving the Church, I saw a middle aged beautiful woman walking towards me. She was wearing a gorgeous dress, with a kind smile on her face. I thought she must be lost, so I approached her. “Excuse me ma,” I said. “You dey find pesin?”

The woman looked at me with surprise and asked, “What’s your name, young lady?”

“My name na Amaka,” I replied.

“Nice to meet you, Amaka. My name is Maureen Ejiofor. I was actually looking for you,” she said.

“Me?” I asked, confused.

“Yes. I heard about you from a friend of mine who works at the Church here. She said you come here to pray the rosary everyday,” Mrs Ejiofor said.

I felt my heart skip a beat. I didn’t actually pray the rosary that well. “Erm, ma? I nor sabi pray am like dat o,” I said, searching for the next words. “I just dey say the words as one woman teach me some time ago.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter dear. I have something to tell you. My husband and I have been praying for a child for many years, but we have not been blessed with one. Last night, we both had a dream about a young girl who needed our help. When my friend told me about you, I just knew that you were the girl we were meant to help,” Mrs Ejiofor said.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A family wanted to take me in? A dirty eighteen year old with little formal education? It seemed too good to be true.

“Would you like to come and live with us, Amaka?” Mrs Ejiofor asked.

“Ma?” The tears rolled down in torrents down my cheeks. I was too overcome with emotion to speak. Nonetheless, I was hesitant at first. I had learned to be wary of strangers, especially in Lagos. But something about this woman felt different. She had a kindness in her eyes that I had never seen before.

As she drove me to their house, Mrs Ejiofor told me about their family and their strong faith. “We believe that everything happens for a reason, and that God has a plan for each of us. We are so grateful that God led us to you,” she said.

She asked me about my life. I told her about how I had lost my parents, about how I had been living on the streets, I told her everything.

“Well, like I said, we have spare rooms in our home, and we would love for you to stay with us.”

I nodded in silence.

When we arrived at their house, a tall dark man with grey beards welcomed me at the gate with a warm smile. “We are so happy to have you here, Amaka,” he said.

“That’s my husband”, Mrs Ejiofor said, smiling at me. “He’s your new Daddy.”

The tears found me one more time. I pinched myself hard. I wanted to wake up. How did I end up in a mansion, with two loving people in minutes? Were they ritualists?

The Ejiofors took me in as their own daughter. They gave me a warm bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, and food to eat. They enrolled me in school and helped me with my studies. And every day, we prayed the rosary together.

Through their love and guidance, I was able to heal from the wounds of my past. I found a sense of purpose and belonging that I had never known before. And it was all thanks to the power of prayer and the kindness of strangers.

As I look back on my life now, I realise that the rosary was my lifeline. It was the one constant in my life, the one thing that I could always rely on.

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2023

☝️☝️☝️A beautiful story to read

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