CV NEWS FEED // The Archbishop of Benin announced on Saturday that a 14-year-old girl from Africa, martyred for resisting attempted rape, is among Pope Francis’ list of 25 people to begin the process of canonization.
In November 2009, Vivian Uchechi Ogu was shot dead for resisting rape by armed robbers, who broke into her family’s home in Nigeria. Vivian and her family were active members of their local parish, where she served as a catechist and an active choir leader.
After she learned the story of St. Maria Goretti through an archdiocese training course, Vivian “would continually retell the story of her favorite saint when she invited her companions to a life of faith and friendship with Jesus and instructed them on the value of virginity.”
“On Sunday, the 15th of November, 2009, after preaching about purity, virginity, and martyrdom to her fellow children in the church in the morning, the opportunity came for her to put into practice what she preached all her life,” the Vivian Ogu Movement website stated.
The archbishop, Most Reverend Augustine Akubeze, noted at the Mass on Saturday: “ Vivian led an exemplary life and died a heroic death by opting to be killed rather than being sexually defiled.”
The next step in the canonization process is for testimonies for or against her cause to be brought forward.
Akubeze said, “Since her reputation for martyrdom and holiness has continued to increase since her death, and after having been formally requested to open the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, bringing it to the attention of the ecclesial community, we invite all of the faithful who can give valid testimony to come forth and contact the Archdiocesan Curia at the Chancery, No. 30, Airport Road, Benin City with their information, whether favorable or contrary to the reputation of martyrdom and holiness of the aforementioned Servant of God.”
Vivian was also the president of the Pontifical Association of the Holy Childhood (PAHC), and at age nine, she “mobilized funds to pay the bill of many poor children in the Central hospital, Benin City. She organized several visits to orphanage homes where she touched the lives of so many poor orphans,” according to the Vivian Ogu Movement.
Vivian had a love of Scripture, and began writing a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew at age thirteen. She also contributed
to the creation and circulation of the archdiocesan PAHC newsletter, called ‘Friends of Jesus.’ Vivian loved reading the Holy Scriptures and asking for explanations from her priests and teachers concerning the teachings of the Church. Moved by her love for the Word of God, she had decided to commit himself to writing her understanding of the Gospels. She had arrived at chapter sixteen of the Gospel of St. Matthew by the time she was killed.