Dame Obaapanyin Theresa Efua Arkhurst was last Saturday installed the new national president of the St Theresa of Child Jesus Society at its 8th biennial national delegates conference held at the St Kizito Retreat Centre, at Apowa, in the Takoradi Diocese in the Western Region.
It was held on the theme, “Emulate St Theresa, our beacon of hope for the sick and suffering’.
Dame Arkhurst, a former vice national president of the St Theresa, elected into office on October 2019, was recently awarded a Papal Knighthood of the Order of St Gregory the Great, and would occupy the position from 2019 to 2021.
In her address, she called for a transformation and renewal of the vocation of the patron saint and rededication of services of members to the poor and the vulnerable.
Emulating St Theresa, she admonished, rested on faith, enduring suffering and severe temptations, but, this she believed should end in the joy of faith, saying that “in suffering, Mother Theresa always united with the heart of Jesus Christ.”
She continued, “We must bear the pain of one another as followers of the ‘ little flower’. We must desist from caring for only our friends and loved one to caring for all ,” she urged.
Dame Arkhurst told the delegates that many women in the church were going through depression and other forms of suffering just as St Theresa, their patron saint, experienced in life, and added that, the youth in Ghana were going through pain in the area of their faith,family life, education and individual development.
She noted: “The issue of sickness in our world today is always a difficult one to deal with. However, one thing is for sure, sickness should not cause us to lose faith in God, and I want to believe that anyone who belongs to the St Theresa, suffering for one reason or the other believes that God is still in control.
“Such was the case of St Theresa of the Child of Jesus in whom I state my conviction as our beacon of hope for the sick and suffering. St Theresa knew the world of suffering. She had her own share in the world’s pain, distress and hardships. She lost her mother when she was only four and half years old.”
Dame Arkhurst said the patron saint fought the temptation to despair and made frequent acts of faith in Jesus and God’s love for her, and was convinced that the suffering and death of Jesus Christ could transform the world.
She was proud to see St Theresa become a formidable society as the conference reflected on the “good works of our patron St Theresa of the Child of Infant Jesus across the nation,” stressing that “the church without doubt should be our concern and with the little smiles brighten the faces of the suffering and offer hope for the future.”
Dame Arkhurst declared: “Let us experience a St Theresa Society that is ready to change the face of the mother Church by making sacrifices needed to uplift her. We all can start to experience the inward renewal that she experienced when we come to God with our suffering.”
The Archbishop of Accra and Apostolic Administrator for the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, Most Rev John Bonaventure Kwofie, who joined the society for a thanksgiving service at the Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi, applauded the work of Dame Arkhurst on the Diocesan Finance Council and as a Coordinator of the Laity Council, adding that “you have been leader of women organisation.”
Commenting on the Papal award, he said, Dame Arkhurst was an accomplished educationist, who was inspired by the patron saint and brought dignity, commitment, and was not surprised that she was elected President of St Theresa Society.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, APOWA