The life of Pia Rosa Fatica ( Mafua Nkong) popularly known as Ma Pia is too rich to be put in few pages. Our desire is that in the near future a book may be written in order to make the gift of her life to many people.
Ma Pia was born on 30th August 1929 the last of 5 siblings. She was working as a midwife, a profession at that time very prestigious and economically well placed. One day she read an advertisment that there was a need for a midwife in a mission in Africa. She immediately felt called to offer herself and she got incontact with Lucio and Rita who told her about the Ideal. It was her very first time of coming incontact with the Focolare Movement, she was so taken by what they told her and wanted to remain there with them but she had to go back as she was on night duty that same day.
When she requested for permission from work to go to assist as a volunteer in Shisong she was told that she will be granted her request only if she found some body to replace her. It was not easy in those days to fine professional midwife. In a short time she found somebody to take her place , learned english and was granted a 1 year permission. On the 18 March 1967 Pia arrived in Cameroon and spend a period of one year in Shisong hospital, there she did not lack any thing but she felt that it was not her place.
The fisrt focolarine were already in Fontem but there was absolutly nothing, no house. When she left Shisong one of her friends Eva Maria accompanied her, on reaching Fontem seeing how every thing was difficolt she said, “ if Pia left every thing to come to Fontem she must understand what God wants from her. The radical choice of Pia helped her to donate her life as a Franciscan Nun with the Terziary sisters of st. Frances in Shisong.
We can still ask ourselves what attracted Pia , what made her to live everything and to settle in Fontem a place which at the time was called the green hell. This question has been asked to her several times and the only answer is God.
Her profession as a midwife and her work in the maternity made here to enter soon in the culture and tradition of bangwa people.
Immediately she set in to live and work with the people she realized that many children were dying also due to poor hygiene and lack of proper antenatal and post natal care. At that time the hyginic status of many girls and women were rudimental and poor. She set in to work to educate the women in order to improve their development believing that through them she meets the health needs of the population. The mothers cooperated well with her and in three years she was able to improve their living standared and the level of hygien there by reducing drastically infant mortality rate.
She never spared herself, she was there for them so they can come at any time to share their problems and joy. The love of the people was a great source of strenght for her, she was welcomed and considered as one of them. At the begining when the women come to deliver climbing the delivery bed they used to spit out in her face. Initially she did not understand and felt insulted but later she understood that inorder to hold the strong pain and not shout they used to keep a piece of stone in their mouth which they spit out on reaching the maternity.
What helped her was also the permission of the bishop to have a chapel beside the maternity. When she has a difficolt case which were not rear she goes to che chapel to confind to God each one and she always receives answer.
During the period she worked in the maternity she delivered 11,000 children and was able to follow the growth and development of many of them.
She rendered her services in different sections of the hospital and the last place was the office were she worked till her last days. It was an office created specifically for her a very difficolt post that demands a lot of wisdom: knowing how to temper mercy with justice which was very tipical of Ma Pia. Ndia Benuchem (house for all maters) became very famous. There Pia lived uncountless experiences.
After a heavy day of work at 4pm she will always call the nurse on duty to inquire about the discharged patients who have not paid their bill. She will ask if some body is with them and if they have eaten. If not she makes sure that some body go to buy food for them. One day she came to know that the nurse removed the matrass of a discharged patient, she requested that on her account some matrasses could be bought to ensure that they did not sleep on empty bed.
She was always conscious that the hospital is at the service of the entire population therefore the responsibility for everyone to pay their bills. She suffers when she realize that some body is not taking serious their responsibility. When she realise that the has not been love to the people she always find a way to reconcile and that the people leaves her office with peace.
In the video below, Pia appeares at the minute 1:03
She made life the Word of Life that Chiara gave to Her: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest.” she has a particular sensibility for those who suffers both materially ans spiritually. She always keep aside every year money for the help of the poor, the prisoners and she never lacks providence whenever need be. She kept merticolosly any money she receives for the help of the needy.
She has a very intense relationship with Mafua Ndem Chiara Lubich. During her life time she received about 40 letters from Chiara and in one of them Chiara granted her her request to spend the rest of her life in Fontem.
In 2000 she received the title Mafua Nkong by Chief Forchap, which shows how much she has dedicated her life in the service of the people.
Pia was always very concrete in all she does, when she felt that God was about to call her back to Him, she asked how she should prepare for this moment. She was like a conscense that call us all always to go back to the early times when unity was all that matters.
Two days before she died, she greeted all of us and even asked pardon if she has not loved they way God intended her to love everyone.
Mafua Nkong died on Saturday 22 August the day of the coronation of Mary as Queen of the apostles, she has laways had great love for Mary and we believe that she is now resting with Chiara whom she loved so much and who also loved her and all the other focolarine e focolarini who have given their lives for Fontem.