She loves people’s stories: Profile of Sister Chioma Ahanihu, S.L.W.

As a young girl Sister Chioma Ahanihu, S.L.W. wanted to see the world while helping the poor. Since she was raised in a devout Nigerian Catholic family, by the time she was a young woman she had connected that dream to sisterhood. Fast forward through plenty of discernment and a few life changes, and now Ahanihu has brought her passion for service to her work as a therapist and her membership in the Sisters of the Living Word in Chicago.

Sister Chioma Ahanihu, S.L.W.

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(Photo courtesy of Sisters of the Living Word.)

What first drew you to religious life?

As an 11- or 12-year-old girl I had a desire to travel the world helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly. That dream made no sense to me then because I did not even know what it meant. I think it was clear to me that I did not want to get married and have children to tie me to one place.

Being part of a church community also exposed me to the religious sisters in my parish. Then I became friends with one of them, and I would ask her a lot of questions about religious life.

What moments with your community do you really relish?

I enjoy when we sit to catch up with each other at the end of the day. I find it exciting to hear stories of the people we encountered during the day as we bring them to our evening prayer.

Do you have a favorite way to pray?

I like and look forward to my morning meditations. I like my quiet times where I can just “be” and “gaze” without many words. Prior to the quiet time, I read some portion of the Bible, preferably the reading of the day, and then enter into contemplation.

What is your current ministry?

I work for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago where I provide psychotherapy services to individuals and couples. I’m also studying at Catholic Theological Union. I love listening to people’s stories and helping them piece things together to live a more fulfilled life.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I love to laugh and laugh loud—you know, from the belly!

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