Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. And the insight and experience of others is a valuable source of inspiration and motivation. That is why learning from successful people is a fantastic way to grow and live better. Madam Theresa Ogbenyeanu Odum was, by all standards, a virtuous successful woman of excellence and charity worthy of emulation.
A woman endowed with the virtue of charity is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Such a woman is both soft and powerful. She loves, cares, forgives, perseveres and feels the pulse of others. These attributes sum up the generous lifestyle our octogenarian mum, whom God endowed with longevity, peace, kindness, benevolence and generosity.
Madam Theresa Ogbenyeanu Odum was born in 1933, that is 88 years ago, into the family of Chief Nwokafor Onwudinjo and Mrs Catherine Unoma Onwudinjo, now late, of Umubelle Village Awka. She was a very beautiful damsel and thus, the cynosure of all eyes. Thesy, as she was fondly called, was good looking and exceptionally intelligent. These qualities compelled her parents to give her the name, Ogbenyeanu.
Education for the girls during her days was an aberration. However, she was able to acquire subsistent knowledge, which propelled her in life. Theresa was very industrious; she helped her parents in farming and other domestic chores. Mama was a very good cook too, just as she was peace loving, to the extent that young couples were coming to her for mentorship and tutelage.
At her tender age, because of her beauty and intelligence, many suitors were coming to her for marriage but she reneged until she met and married her heartthrob, Chief David Uyanwa Odum, now late of Umuodum Village, Ogba village, Mbaukwu in Awka South LGA. The marriage was blessed with seven wonderful children. Mama realized early that knowledge is power hence; she and papa ensured that all their children acquired formal education.
Madam Theresa Ogbenyeanu Odum was an ardent Christian. Mama was very fervent in prayer. In fact, she never missed morning mass and she was always clinching to rosary. Ogbenyeanu taught her children the art of praying. She was a very active member of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) of Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church, Ogba Mbaukwu.
Madam Theresa Odum served as the CWO Chairlady for eight years (from 1984 to 1991). She relinquished the position in 1991 when she travelled to America. Upon her return, she was appointed the Caretaker Chairlady, Ogba Village Women Association 2000, a position she held till she decided to hand over to younger ones.
Madam Theresa Odum was a mother per excellence. She was well taken care of by her husband hence; she was given the title Nwa Ana Anu Namma. Giving was in her blood. Mama believed that charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead. Her spirit of charity made her home as a pilgrimage for the sick and those in need and Mama would take care of their needs.
Ogbenyeanu would cater for the indigent and the hoi-poloi in the society. Mama was a consistent giver and she imbibed in her children the art of charity and self-denial to satisfy others. Mama taught them that charity is kind; it is not easily provoked, it thinks no evil, believes all things and hopes all things.
Consequently, Madam Theresa Odum was honoured by Saint Theresa’s Catholic Parish, Mbaukwu in 2004 as Patroness of the Parish. The determination, resilience, effort, patience, sacrifice and foresight of Nwa Ana Anu Namma were exemplary.
Madam Theresa Ogbenyeanu Odum would be fondly missed by her children, Cecelia Odum, Mrs Patricia Mma Attah, Mrs. Nkechi Okafor, Chief Emma Odum, Chief Vincent Odum, Prof. Henry Mbanefo Odum and I.K. Johnpaul Odum as well as her grandchildren, great grandchildren and other numerous relations.