Women from all walks of life, converged to deepen their faith, share experiences, and gain insight into the importance of prayer, health, and examine their role in society at a conference held recently in Lagos. The conference with the theme “When Women Pray,” was organised by the Lagos Archdiocese Religious Education Department on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the Church Hall of St. Anthony Catholic Church, Gbaja, Surulere, Lagos. Reflecting on the theme, Rev. Fr. Victor Okhiria, Associate Parish Priest, St. Anthony Catholic Church, Gbaja, narrating the story of the woman with hemorrhage from the Gospel of Mark 5:25-34, emphasised on the power and determination of the woman who sought healing from Jesus. Fr. Okhiria, outlining three key aspects of prayer; consequences, cause for prayer and the event, listed the challenges the woman in the story faced, including social isolation, physical weakness, and the risk of breaking societal norms to seek healing. Stressing on the importance of faith and perseverance, Fr. Okhiria said through her faith, persistence, and courage, the woman was able to overcome her challenges and received healing from Jesus. Dr. Patrick Ijewere, a medical practitioner, spoke on cancer prevention and healthy lifestyle in maintaining overall well-being. Ijewere emphasised the importance of spirituality, mindset, nutrition, lifestyle, and environment in cancer prevention, as he explained how negative emotions such as bitterness, anger, wickedness, among others can weaken the immune system and contribute to cancer development.
On nutrition, Ijewere stressed the importance of people eating balanced meal and avoiding processed foods. He emphasised the need for adequate sleep, sunlight, clean environment, and cautioned on the use of cosmetics, which may contain harmful chemicals. Speaking on the transformative power of prayer in women’s life, Mrs. Bridget Itsueli, noted that women pray, wait patiently for God’s answer, as they experience His grace in various ways. She explained how prayer impact women’s lives, self-awareness, repentance, commitment to doing things right, listening skills, and increased love for others. Itsueli said a woman who prays should see Jesus in the Sacraments, as He is present in various forms; Holy Spirit in Confirmation, His entirety during Holy Communion, a source of healing during Anointing of the Sick, as forgiveness during Confession, and as love during Marriage. The Women on Mission, an initiative of the Religious Education Department – is a community of women who come together to support, encourage, motivate and inspire each other to live a life with purpose and passion for Jesus.