Sister Veronica Fatoyinbo
The Goodness of God
2016 was a big year for Sister Veronica Fatoyinbo. After three years of study in the US, she earned a degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, and returned home to Nigeria to begin her teaching ministry. She also professed final vows as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in 2015. After she had been home for several months, we caught up with her to see how this Xavier grad is doing in the classroom.
What is your school like ?
I am working at Notre Dame Girls’ Academy, in Amoyo. It is in a suburban area of Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur built this academy in 2007, and there are 61 girls enrolled this year. It is unique because it is all girls.
How does that make the school unique?
In this part of the world, the education of women is still not a priority. It is a predominantly Muslim area. Most families see no value in educating women and girls. As a girl child, you are expected to get married very early, between ages 14 and 16, and raise children. That is your role. Given this dynamic, all-girls schools are rare. It is also why the Sisters of Notre Dame felt an especially strong calling to educate girls in this particular locality.
What kind of work do you do at the school?
We have six years of high school. The first three are known as Junior Secondary School and the last three are Senior Secondary School. I teach first year mathematics for both Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary, and I am one of seven Sisters of Notre Dame teaching here. I also serve as a mentor to the fourth year students. I help them develop emotional and social skills. Many of our students are boarders who live far from their parents. When they have questions about life, I am always ready to help.
What is your greatest challenge at school?
ELECTRICITY! Since I joined the Notre Dame Girls’ Academy (NDGA) community at the first of the year, I can count how many hours we have had electricity. So many of our students are boarders, and they need electricity to study. We have begun running our generator almost every night, which is quite costly.
How is your Xavier education serving you back home in Nigeria?
As a well-trained educator from Xavier University, I feel equipped to help these young women develop their gifts and career ambitions. The students are very eager to learn, and together, we are exploring and learning mathematics. I am tremendously happy to be part of this liberating mission. I am also using my Jesuit education to help with pastoral activities of my local parish, where I have been appointed to coordinate the Young Catholic Students organization of the diocese.