welcome to

Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy Congregation (Region of Canada)

... bearing witness to the mercy of God

Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  Psalm 133

A Brief History of our Mission in Canada

The beginning of Sons’ Mission in Canada started when Fr. Eugene Eburuche contacted Bishop Eugene LaRocque, the Local ordinary of the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese. Upon their discussion, the bishop agreed to accept two priests from our Congregation.

At that time, our Congregation did not have enough priests to be sent out on a mission. However, the then Superior General, Fr. James M. Okpalaonwuka, saw the invitation as a viable mission. Therefore, he released Fr. Uche Iheke and Fr. Remigius Owuamanam from their pastoral ministry and asked them to prepare for a mission in Canada. At that time, Fr. Uche Iheke was the secretary general of the congregation while Fr. Remigius was a pastor in a parish and also a councillor of the Congregation.

In preparation for their mission, they experienced great difficulties. One of the major difficulties they had was to get a visa for their journey. Because there was no Canadian Embassy in Nigeria, so they have to obtain their visas from the Canadian Consulate in Accra, Ghana. This was a very tough experience. They travelled by land the first time to Accra but however could not do it again because of their horrible experience at the borders and they had to travel by air.

In September 1999, they left Nigeria for Canada. Upon their arrival in Montreal International Airport, were received by two priests from the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall: Fr. Kevin Maloney and Fr. Allan MacDonald. Fr. Kevin Maloney later became the pastor of Fr. Uche while Fr. Allan MacDonald became the pastor of Fr. Remigius. The priests and the faithful (people of God) were so nice and good to them. They were given a wonderful reception on their arrival and were later interviewed by the local newspaper a few days after their arrival to the Diocese.

Nonetheless, they had a very rough beginning to their mission in Canada. Many factors contributed to this including their adjustment to the vast differences in the food, weather, culture, language (accent), etc. While carrying out their work, they supported each other very well, for that is all the brothers and sister that they had at that time. They kept each other grounded by words of encouragement and long telephone conversations especially at night. Their major form of nourishment consisted of bread and rice, as there was no African food or store within the area at all. There was a day that they nearly bought dog food because it looked like dried meat (anu kporo nku).

Despite all odds, they translated the care and concern they have for each other into their ministry. They ministered to the people with sincere love and concern, and in turn received the love and affection of the people. To be candid, they could see our charisma in action: following the footsteps of Christ our Merciful Saviour and Mary our Mother of Mercy. This is what led them throughout their ministry in Canada at the early time. They were all things to all people that they met in their ministry. Their primary role was parish ministry, school and hospital visitation. Amidst their busy schedule, they still made out time to join some Rosary groups, Group Fellowships, Youth Ministries and assisted in forming the Water for Life. We thank God for those wonderful devout men and women they met in the course of their ministry.

 

The bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall was very pleased with their ministry and work in the Diocese. He spread the name of our dear Congregation all over Canada. They had the opportunity and privilege of meeting different bishops who called us to come and work in their diocese which included the Kingston diocese, Peterborough diocese, and Archdiocese of Ottawa, etc. We deeply appreciate the efforts and love shown to our Congregation in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall by Mr. Ed Lauzon who consistently and tirelessly was projecting the image and presence of our Religious Congregation through his local newspaper – the “Penny Grader”.

In 2001, Fr. Remigius Owuamanam had the privilege of gaining a scholarship to study Formation and Pastoral Leadership respectively in Dublin, Ireland. At this point, Fr. Cyprian Ihedoro who was being prepared to come and work in the Archdiocese of Ottawa was asked by the Superior to replace Fr. Remigius.

We deeply appreciate and are thankful to all these our brothers whose apostolic zeal and vision brought our great Congregation to the height that it is today in Canada. Fr. Remigius Owuamanam who was the Local Superior handed the mantle of leadership over to Fr. Uche Iheke. He held the office until March 2003. During his time, Fr. Uche Iheke registered our Congregation with the Government of Canada as a non-profit charitable organization. From March 2003 to December 2008, the mantle of leadership of the Region rested on the shoulders of Fr. Cyprian Ihedoro. He expanded our territory in Canada both geographically and numerically. Then from December 2008 to 2011, Fr. Sabinus Iwu served as the Regional Superior of the Region. The office he held creditably with further expansion and growth. Fr. Sabinus Iwu later handed over the mantle of leadership of the region to Fr. Paul Njoku and in 2015, Fr. Paul handed the office to Fr. Placid Obiji. In 2018, Fr. Placid handed over to Fr. Godwin Kalu who is presently the Regional Superior at the time this document was finally approved and produced. Fr. Godwin in 2021 handed over to Fr. Sylvanus Omali who is presently the Regional Superior of the Region. We are really very proud with the growth and success of SMMM in Canada. Presently, we are working in the following Dioceses in Canada:

Archdiocese of Kingston

Diocese of Thunder Bay

Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall

Archdiocese of St. Boniface

Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith

Diocese of Peterborough

Archdiocese of Grouard-Maclennan

Diocese of Saint John

Diocese of Pembroke

Diocese of Antigonish

Diocese of Bathurst

Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas 

Diocese of Sault Ste Marie

Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee

Archdiocese of Moncton

Our Regional Executives

Rev. SYLVANUS OMALI, SMMM
(Regional superior)

Rev. MACLEEN ANYANWU, SMMM
(regional bursar)

rev. GEORGE OKOYE, SMMM
(regional secretary)