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Rome Reports

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Nuns bring Nigerian family to Rome for medical treatment at Vatican hospital

Charity and Anthony Okoye are in Rome with their two daughters, 3-year-old Regina and 1-year-old Cioma. They traveled from Nigeria to get medical treatment for their kids at the Vatican's Bambino Gesù children's hospital.

But they didn't get here alone. It was the Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer in Nigeria and Rome who worked together to get the girls the medical attention they needed.

Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer (Rome)
“I contacted the Bambino Gesù hospital. We found wonderful experts who were more than willing to help. One in particular was especially helpful. He got in touch with the family to follow the girls' situation from Rome. But at one point, he said it was impossible to monitor their health from so far away.”

That's when Sr. Margherita brought the case to the attention of the hospital's president, Dr. Mariella Enoc, who agreed to admit the girls into the hospital for treatment.

“It was all the work of God. It's God's doing. That's why we have this help.”

“I was very very happy. Even my family, we are very happy.”

But it isn't only the sisters who are helping out. Vittoria Riccardo, the president of the “C'era una nota” association, heard about the situation and offered to provide the Okoye family a place to stay in Rome.

Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer (Rome)
“Since (Vittoria) has an association that collaborates with the Bambino Gesù Hospital to house families with sick children, she volunteered to host the entire family. Because at first, they told us that it might be necessary to have the mother stay in one place and the father in another. But that didn't seem great to me. So when we found this solution, it seemed like the best option.”

“So nice. We feel so relaxed. Yes. We feel so welcomed.”

Even a parish community in Malta is chipping in to help cover the family's expenses going forward.

Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer (Rome)
“They made it this far, but now we need to stay close to them. We are here for them, for whatever they need.”

Regina, who has a respiratory problem, will receive at least two months of treatment and possibly undergo surgery. Her younger sister, Cioma, will be treated for a neurological problem.

Charity and Anthony don't know when they will be able to return home to Nigeria. But thanks to the compassion of once complete strangers, it's an experience they don't have to go through alone.