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As mental illness rises in Nigeria, nuns offer treatment, shelter to indigent people in Uyo

Ime Effiong (left, in yellow), one of the women who received mental health care from the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, tends to the birds on the poultry farm under Sr. Catherine Nkereuwem’s supervision in Uyo, a town in southeastern Nigeria. (Valentine Iwenwanne)


UYO, NIGERIA — On a hot afternoon in September 2014, Imaobong Effiong was picked up from the streets of this southeastern town by a sister of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who provides mental health support for impoverished and some indigenous men and women in southern Nigeria.

Effiong, who is now 24, was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric illness that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

Sr. Catherine Nkereuwem and other helpers were returning from a community outreach program when they saw her on the street with her baby, having been notified about her illness by a local person. Up to 30% of Nigeria’s more than 200 million people are believed to suffer from mental disorders.

Poor collection of data on the mental health of the population hinders authorities in Nigeria from developing coherent policies to address the situation.

Click here to read the full article…

We Cannot be Silent!, by Deirdre Mullan RSM and Catherine Prendergast DC, offers an opportunity to pause as we reflect and try to make sense of these times. Set in the context of a journey, We Cannot be Silent! invites the reader to reflect on the journey taken by the sixteen-year-old pregnant Mary to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The Visitation story provides an opportunity for the contemporary reader to gain insights into what motivated world leaders from across the globe to journey to the United Nations to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implementation progress since!

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland and Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, writes in her Foreword:

“After the drama of the Annunciation when the teenage Mary assents to becoming the mother of God, though not without expressing her concerns to the angel-messenger, she was undoubtedly as excited as she was terrified. She really needed someone to talk to, someone who could be trusted to listen and to reassure. So she turned to Elizabeth and both women helped each other to contemplate and reimagine a world in which God was about to intervene more emphatically than in all of human history. The birth of the great interruptor, Jesus, was only months away and the world would never be the same. While no treaty negotiations between big powers could ever hope to match the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth, this booklet sets out to capture anew the lessons to be learnt from that epic reunion of these two humble, untitled women, whose voices still speak insistently from a place where women were silent and silenced. We Cannot be Silent! outlines how the Visitation can act as a catalyst for all of us who dream that another world, where all voices are heard, is possible – a world capable of becoming a fair and decent homeland for all God’s family, all those who are the work of his hands. But we are intended to be the hands of the work that will bring about a world fuelled by love, compassion, and the communal heft needed to make justice and equality real.”

Click here or on the image to view the document.

Daughters of Charity

Where we are

We are women who have responded to the Call of Christ to live out our baptismal commitment by reaching out in His name to the people at the margins of our society. With the help and collaboration of many others we contribute to the provision of Child and Family Services, Pre-Schools, Education, Specialised Services for Young People, Services for People with Intellectual Disability, Health Care Services, Services for Older People, Services in Parishes, Family Resource Centres, Services for People who are Homeless, Vincentian Partnership Programmes, Mission Outreaches, Marian Services, Services to the wider Community and Provincial Administration.


The Daughters of Charity have provided services to persons with intellectual disability in Ireland for over a century. Today these services are based in Dublin, Limerick and Tipperary and include community-based residential services...



The Daughters of Charity are present in 21 African Countries. The Irish Sisters have worked in Nigeria and Ethiopia since the early 1960’s and now the young Nigerian Sisters have branched out to Ghana and Burkina Faso giving us contacts in all these mission areas...


Video of Thigio, Kenya


  • “When you leave prayer and Holy Mass to serve those in need, you are losing nothing, because serving those in need is going to God and you should see God in them.”

    St Vincent
  • “Say little, do much”

    St Vincent
  • “Good works are often spoiled by moving too quickly.”

    St Vincent
  • “If we want to please our good God, we must not look so much to what we want to do, but to what He wants us to do.”

    St Louise
  • “Do not believe that things will always be as they are now.”

    St Louise
  • “You are well aware that changes are always difficult, and that it takes time to learn new ways of serving skilfully and well.”

    St Louise
  • “If God is the centre of your life, no words will be needed. Your mere presence will touch their hearts.”

    St Vincent
  • “God makes use of the humblest instruments for the extraordinary operation of His grace.”

    St Vincent
  • “Charity is not charity if not accompanied by justice.”

    St Vincent
  • “The least esteemed by men are perhaps the best loved by God.”

    St Louise
  • “The greater the work the more important it is to establish it on a solid foundation. Thus it will not only be more perfect, it will also be more lasting.”

    St Louise
  • “Speak to God with great simplicity and familiarity, God only wants our hearts.”

    St Louise

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