It is so hard to believe that Ma Pia is no longer with us. I was so speechless when i got the news of her death. … I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with her. I was hoping to work and learn a lot from her when I finally return. It’s so sad to know that she is gone. While we grieve, I will like that we accept this as the will of God for her, for us and for the entire Movement. May we all pray for a peaceful repose of her gentle soul in the bosom of the Lord.
His Royal Majesty Fon Asabaton
For nearly 50 years you worked untiringly for my people who became your people, the people of the whole of Bangwa Mundani, now called Lebialem people. Looking at your age, and from the way you diligently carried out your duties, I often thought you were made of sterner stuff!
When I visited you in your illness on August 14, inspite of your health condition, you recounted when you first saw me in 1972 thus: “who is that charming girl coming towards me?” You were told “she’s The Fon’s daughter who is studying in London.” Virginia and I were very surprised how you could remember such minute things in detail. I had come to do my research and in the Palace my “mothers” were all telling me, “In Madam Chiara’s city there’s a woman called “Ma Pya.” “Abong’nu−tey,” meaning, she’s very kind.
The way you lived the Ideal inspired me very much. I will remember you for the meticulous way in which you kept the hospital accounts and followed up unpaid hospital bills, much to the annoyance of unfaithful people who refused to keep their promises. You confided much to me in relation to this. You put into practice the fact that we will be saints not because we do extraordinary things, but because we do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Pia, you were a pearl to us as a volunteer of God. I join my voice to hundreds of other voices of all the babies you delivered (now parents and grandparents) in Lebialem to say, thank you always and as long as Mary Health of Africa Hospital Fontemexists. May our ancestors of the Heavenly Mariapolis give you a befitting welcome to the bosom of the Father.
Mafua Cristina, The Mafua of Fontem Defang
Thank you dearest Pia for your way of love without holding back! You are for many a sister, a friend and a mother. From heaven you will continue to look after the Fon, on your beloved Bangwa people and on all of us who had the immense grace to live with you the reciprocity of love!
Augusto Parody Reyes (former Councilor for the Focolare Movement in Africa)
Dear Ma Pia,
I would like to thank God for the opportunity to be close to you during the last moments of your life. You made me to understand a lot of things that all is vanity, detachment from everything. You gave your all, even your life out of love for the Lebialem people. Thank you, Ma! You led a good life guided by the Gospel, a role model for all the volunteers of Fontem. Ma, Thank you. You had passion for your job and worked devotedly until the last months of your life, Ma ,Thank you! You were such a talented woman. The account office of Mary Health of Africa will miss you, Thank you, Ma. We will miss you at the front pew at Mas everyday in the chapel. Thank you for all your advise and encouragement to help me live as a volunteer. May the Almighty God grant you eternal rest in His Kingdom. Amen
My dearest Ma Pia, thank you for what you have been to us, to me particularly. From 2003 when we used to walk praying the rosary to Mass at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College from 5:30 am so as to finish and being in the chapel before others arrive, your life started making deep impression on me. Mum, you taught me many things not in words, but in action: punctuality, straightforwardness, silent endurance of suffering, poverty with oneself and generosity with all, harmony in and out of the house. Above all Ma, you taught me what it means to be a volunteer of God.
The unity and love that has existed among us has been so supernatural, that it goes beyond death. The night before you died, seeing that I am alone with you, you slept so deeply as you never did for weeks. You are so sensitive on my physical fragility that you endured a lot silently so as not to break me down.
Mum, in the course of your suffering and ours, you once asked me, what would you give me as a token for all the sacrifice? My response: “The salvation of your soul, nothing more.”
Thank God for letting us see you pass serenely into Paradise. May you now pray for us, that this Great Treasure which Mama Chiara left us – love and unity -maybe lived with radicalness.
Thank you Mum! Rest in Peace.
My day of 22 August 2015 was completely messed up by the sms message I received from Cameroon announcing that you had left for the heavenly Mariapolis, as opposed to an earlier phone conversation during which you assured me that your condition was a bit stable. I prayed so hard and that I could next meet you alive but the Lord decided otherwise. It is very painful when I remember what you have been in my life. A heroine who left the comfort of her beautiful country to respond to God’s call for the position of a mid-wife in the newly opened Mary Health of Africa Hospital Fontem.
It was there I first met you in 1973 when I came to consult with my baby girl. You received us with so much joy and a broad smile that immediately left me speechless at the as to the warmth and tone of our conversation. It was not until a few years after that I came to understand the treasure you carried within you which inspired all your actions and interactions with the patients, especially each mother whose baby you weighed in preparation for consultation and treatmentif they were not feeling well.
Your demise has left a vacuum that will obviously take time to fill. But we are consoled in the certitude that you have already made it home. Yes, you fought a good fight and it is all ended. The thousands of children nurtured into this world through your dexterous hands are an eloquent testimony of your journey on earth and remain forever a tall legacy. Today they serve humanity you so treasured as: housewives, doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, you name them. They have grown under your watchful eyes to change the fate of families, communities, and who knows tomorrow, they will impact nations and the world. But sadly enough, when they call you to find out the fate of their loved ones interned in the hospital surely in your great humor you will reply: ‘I Have changed my address to heaven, I have crossed the great divide. I know therìs no sorrow or crying, because I have reached the other side.
I am happy to be there, for the Lord himself I see.
I have changed my address to Heaven, I’m safe forevermore.
I have no high temperatures, nor burdens or heart-arches not tears to shed, I’m now free.
I have changed my address to Heaven, I’m safe forevermore.
The Lord built a mansion for me and my name is engraved on the door.
Now you can find us walking together, for where He is, I will always be there.
I have changed my address to Heaven, that is the place you will find m’ Pia Fatica
Ma Pia, has been a Mother to me. I arrived Fontem 1986 and at once worked in the hospital. Coming from a night shift, the first thing she would do is to greet and let you feel comfortable especially if the night has been tough. She also dedicated her time in the chapel, always the first to arrive so to prepare the altar table, clean the priest chair, arrange well everything from the vest to the water, wine and host for consecration, contributing to the solemnity of the Holy Mass. A woman of faith, prayer and fear of God.
Her generosity is bounty. Once a patient could not pay the hospital bills, Pia offered work to this family, as a gardener in her beautiful yard, so that the income is used to pay the bills and the patient can be discharged from the hospital.
She is loved by the Bangwa people because she made herself one with them. From traditional leaders, Civil authorities and natives, old or young, you heard them calling her with respect ” “MA PIA” she even received a traditional title “MAFUA…”
A volunteer of God, who did not spare anything, giving all for God’s Kingdom… Her big love, and unity with Chiara Mafua Ndem has united them on earth and in heaven.
I cried upon knowing, you have gone… Yet faith taught us we shall remain united, in the Holy Eucharist, in full communion, more than ever we are One. There is no distance with Jesus in the Midst.
How I wish to embrace you…and joined the twin dance on your days of wake, but God knows… I do miss you Mafua… I love you… Pray for us here… Greet Chiara, Fon Defang, Mafua Esther, Fon Lucas, Dr. Asong, Pa Nicasio, Dr. Lucio, Miss Ita, Miss Jane, Dorothy Nkematabong, Monica Emeteh, and all man oh.
A woman of faith, love and service, I say thank you na plenty…till we meet again.
Tesita Dionson, Manila, Philippines
I was woken up early this morning by an SMS from Fr. Agure Ignatius, the Parish Pastor of St. Clair’s Parish, Fontem, he informed me that Ma Pia left this world at 8pm, on the feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven.
I immediately had a flash back when Very Rev. Fr. Paul Obi and I visited Ma Pia in her home when she was critically sick. Ma Pia welcomed us, admonished us as usual to be good priests, asked us to greet the bishop of Mamfe and remind the bishop about the picture of Jesus Forsaken which she gave to be put in the Sacristy. He asked us to greet Bishop Emeritus and made a gift of 5.000 frs to us. She asked us to be united and to live our lives well with Jesus in our midst. She finally asked us to pray for her. We prayed for her and left.
I know that Ma Pia has made it to heaven. She lived a wonderful life here on earth. May the good Lord receive her in heaven.
I am at the moment in Lagos, Nigeria and can’t make for the burial, an event I would have to be present. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to all the Focolare Members. My hearty condolences to everyone in Fontem where Ma Pia lived more of her life and may the gentle soul of Ma Pia, R.I.P.
Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Ibeagha
I learned that our Pia has now arrived in the bosom of the Father.
I am united with you in prayer, asking with you for Paradisea s the hundredfold for her like lived for her people of Fontem, in a special way for the newly-born whom she helped to give birth to.
I met her in some meeting:, brief, but intense. I saw in her the vocation of a lay missionary, a vocation which, with the Ideal, had matured and was realized, also as a Volunteer. In her was the passion of her profession, always lived with dedication, with great love and with the joy of giving a precious contribution to the Movement within the Little City of the Focolare.
I remember the esteem that Chiara had for her when she came to Fontem that, upon the request from one of the Chiefs to have someone from the Movement to be part of his Council, had thought that Pia would be the right person for this task. Chiara had certainly seen her as one of the pillars of this Permanent Mariapolis.
Chiara would have welcomed her with much joy in the Heavenly Mariapolis, together with Mary and all our members who have already arrived in heaven.
Together with you, I entrust your Little City so that its’ design may be fulfilled. She loved it very much and now, I am sure that she will continue to love it with that full charity because she now lives in the infinite Love of the Father.
We entrust to her also the Volunteers of the Little City so that they may be a visible witness of their vocation.
In Jesus in the Eucarist who links heaven and earth,
Maria Ghislandi, former Central Delegate of the Volunteers, Rome
Ma Pia, thank you for what you were to the people of Lebialem, and to the people of Fontem in particular. You were and will remain for us an inspiring example of selfless love of the people. Even at your old age you continued to work so devotedly. I will continue to remember your words to me concerning the volunteers of God, branch of the Focolare Movement. Each time you held me tidely to your side and said we should keep the life of the volunteers alive.
Mafua, you were and will remain an example to the volunteers of God in Fontem. I pray our Lady, Queen of Heaven to hold you tidely by her side and take you to join Chiara, Foco and all our brothers and sisters in the Heavenly Mariapolis.
For me, Miss Pia lived radically her call. Her faith and devotion remain outstanding. That faith brought her thousands of miles away from her homeland. She then found a home where rationality would forbid. For God, for the love of humanity and for a worthy mission, she gave up the possibilty of a human family. She found more than a human family can offer in a land where rivers flow inbetween hills. Though harsh, she made it her Paradise. She fought against the grip of death and rescued many children and became the mother of everyone… Miss Pia, Ma Pia. Who doesn’t know you? You were a mother, a colleague and a spiritual mentor. Thank you Ma Pia. Say hallo to all our beloved ones gone ahead of us and continue to pray for us as we pray for you. I await our reunion in God in Paradise.
MA PIA FATICA
Ma Pia has been for me a mother, a sister, a friend and a colleague.
She has served the hospital faithfully and supported in a generous and heroic way.
During her 47 years of active service, Ma Pia gave fully her time,
resources and skills. With her devotion to work, she instilled in us the
spirit of doing things well and for God.
She has left us with her legacy: To live as a family with God among us.
Ma Pia, may your soul rest in peace in the bosom of the Almighty Father!
Ms Pia is one of the icons in Fontem. There can be no story of the Bangwas without the Focolare Movement, and of course the MHA Hospital. She served us well and became so embedded in our Bangwa culture as you rightly said. May her gentle soul RIP.
Terence Atabong, USA
There is no greater love than to lay down your life for the ones you love. Mafua Nkong offered her life as a volunteer of God of the Focolare Movement to serve God in the Lebialem people in a special way bringing to life to God’s children.
Her high spirit of equilibrium in dealing with individual’s problems made her to become one with all. This gave rise to the name of her office “ndia benuchem”. In fact, no one left this ‘house of all matters’ without an appropriate solution. She knew how to temper justice with mercy. Ma Pia’s about 50 years of stay in Fontem made her to become a Bangwa woman. In spite of all her obvious personal failings, she struggled to witness as her vocation of volunteer demands: have a life of commitment, lead a life of sacrifice, practice self less love and offer voluntary services.
At the moment of writing these few words for you Ma Pia – Ndia Benuchem, I am guilty that I did not come to your bedside in your last moments to share the exit strategy you so wisely put in place over the years. Surely as an acquaintance of yours, I had the rare privilege to share some of your intimate feelings on the Work of Mary which you embraced and spent your earthly life bringing its light to the Citadel of love that Fontem is to the world. Arriving to the heart of the tropical forest you lived to see Fontem transform into the city it is today, but most importantly you helped deliver thousands of those who are today the fathers and mothers, grand fathers and mothers to the many proud children you so lived to serve. I remember so fondly how you asked our family to send sweets and candies for you to pacify crying babies whenever they were brought to the hospital for post-natal care or treatment. Yes one candy at the time and one year after the supplies will still be there and more would come. Despite your failing health and advancing age, you lovingly served in the pharmacy with such accuracy in billings that even the computers today can only confirm that they are the work of human hands.
I salute you as each time we met, we talked about Belleuh mission and the need to fix the road so that the car could bring you to mass there. Your wish has been granted by our Lord as a few days to it resuming another pastoral role you took the news to other pioneers, Fr. Lino, Dr Lucio, Victorio, Jane Dube etc who proceeded you. Yes I remember your constant insistence on Fontem keeping the faith as Chiara’s thoughts and works would be lost if we failed to show our love for one another in concrete ways. This you did as you collected money to pay hospital bills for the poor, send your yearly contribution to Sister Jacky for the prison ministry, or clothes and other wears for distribution to the have-nots in the hospital at year end. Each time I came into your office, we will marvel at the wisdom of the inscription on your door, ‘Ndia Benuchem’ translated to mean ‘clearing house’. Surely that you have become as the Lord must have granted your wish to serve as a clearing house to sainthood by your earthy life at his service and now in heaven to prepare a place for us when our turn comes. With the comfort that the Fontem legion of the Work of Mary keeps growing in the heavenly Mariapolis, I am sure at heaven’s gate in golden letters, you will engrave ‘Ndia Benuchem Forever’.
Mama Pia was a wonderful devoted mother who worked until only death could retire her. She handed the keys of her office. Known as House for all Matters and three days after she rested in peace.
Mama you always remember my feast day and pray for me. I entrust myself and my family into your hands as you are entering Paradise. Not to forget Thecla.
Ma Pia, I love you. You had been a wonderful woman, you love every one and always bring unity to people’s family. I know you for my time here in Mary Health as a loving mother, solving problem among the staff. I after discharge. I have seen you as a father and mother at the same time. What I have learned from you is to be straight in life. I know you are with God, stay there and pray for us.
Pa Peter Mbeboh
I almost thought of saying: it cannot be like this. It had to be Mary, the Queen who would come to take her and bring her to the House of the King of Kings. I am happy to have met her two years ago and have seen her in action. I accompany her and she will accompany us in prayer.
For me, Pia was truly for this Citadel, this love for everyone, this love that truly wanted to always help so that everyone would go ahead…. Many times I needed to help her know how to do the will of God. What I remember much in my heart is that she prayed for everyone, for example, for the Fon so that he may do his task well. This love that she had for everyone is what I remember of Pia.
Ma Pia, my last moments I spent with you were moments of blessings and much fun. May your life be celebrated and may humanity always remember for the services you have rendered. You asked me when will I be getting married, I wish you were there to witness it. May the Almighty God grand eternal rest to your soul.
Ma Pia, you have been a mother, sister and friend to me. You helped me so much when I just arrived here in Fontem in 1995 to grow in my vocation as a volunteer. In moments of sorrow you gave me consoling words and courage to go ahead putting my trust in God. … You have gone ahead to the heavenly Mariapolis. I know you will continue to pray for me.
In our department, you helped me to do my work well, to be conscious of what I am doing… and to put Jesus in the midst at each moment. You never mind shouting at me when you realize that I have made a mistake
because you wanted me to be perfect in doing my job. In your absent physically, I know spiritually we are together. Your last words to me in the day you died was pray for me. I will remember to do it daily. May God grant you eternal rest.
I knew you in 1983 when I came to work in the hospital as a child. You have been a mother to me and brought me up to be a good worker by doing things in front of God. Not only that you have been a member to my
family with the concern you had on each one especially my mother and the children of my younger sister, by sharing in all our joys and sorrows. I don’t know how to thank you but God will do that for us. My whole family
prays for you that God will forgive any wrong if at all it is and bring you to his right hand in heaven. Mama pray for me to continue the work you have entrusted to me. We miss you a lot. May your soul rest in peace.
Thank You Ma Pia! Thank you very much for everything. You were a great Godmother to me. You did your best to put me on track. When I was a little boy, my mom always asked me to go and greet my Godmother. The four years which we spent together in the Account Office were to melike years of reformation. I call them years of reformation because during these years you taught me so many values. The most interesting of your lessons is how to embrace difficult situations.
Ma, I will always try to practice what you taught me. Good bye Ma.
Ma Pia, “Ndia benu chem”. I am deeply sorry that you left for the Heavenly Mariapolis while i was out of Menji. Nevertheless, I know the love you had for me and the Bellah-Ngeh family as a whole. I saw you two days ago before you passed away. My daughter Amoteme brought you your fruits two days before your departure to the Lord’s Kingdom. You were deeply loved by all Lebialem women and men and you have left so many God’s children. You helped to bring them into this world.
Adieu Ma Pia. That the land of our ancestors be light.
Colonel Chief Fobella Yochembeng II Daniel (Former Mayor)
Ma Pia I thank you so much for the love you have shown to the Fontem people. You have been a mother, a sister, and a good friend to us all. We thank God for your life and continue to thank Him for the way you have gone. Extend greetings to His Majesty the Fon of Fontem and you people should joinly pray for us. Thank you for everything and also extend greetings to Mama Mafua Ndem Chiara. Bye Ma Pia
Ma Pia, Thank you for all of what you were to us. I will always keep your last words to me as your legacy: “to continue loving”. We all loved you… Look down from heaven upon us your children.
Ma Pia, you have fought a good fight up to the end. Thank you for your sincere and concrete loe for me. You have given me a lot—the pieces of advice to me. I will go ahead to radiate this love to all. Thank you mama. Rest in peace.
Your son, Theophilus
Ma Pia, one day you said to me: “God loves us. You are a beautiful people, you have good animals, good vegetation, everything is beatiful and good. “ We thank you for all your sacrifices for the hospital, the Bangwa people and the Lebialem.
Your son Tendongmo Pierre
Ma Pia, I shall always live to remember you, especially when I come to negotiate how to pay the numerous bills of my relatives and immediate family. Mama, how you treated me at times and we would argue yet finally agree on the terms of payment. Who shall give me now such concessions? I pray you are received in the hands of our Lord Almighty. May your soul rest in perfect peace. Adieu.
Chief Fondungallah Nkemteba Joseph
Ma Pia, Mafua Nkong Forchap as you were fondly called by all Your selfless sacrifice and duties especially in the field of Midwifery was enormous to the population of Lebialem. You even sustained an accident in the execution of this duty just because you valued others lives more than yours. You carried the mark of this accident to your last day. When you were old and could no longer carry out these duties, you were sent to the Finance section where you still executed the duty with a lot of love. This selfless sacrifice of your spurred Forchap to crown you Mafua Nkong ( Queen of Love), which fits very well. We mourn you just because we shall miss you for you lived to a ripe old age showing that even God valued and treasured your stay here on earth. rest in peace , Mafua Nkong.
Pa Nkemfuandem Nkeng Thaddeus