Friday, 22 January 2016

How wife of 1st Bishop of Anglican Church, Lagos West Diocese, died on last day of 2015 | + Untold story of how she cheated Cancer for 6 years

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Members of the Choir of St. Peter's Anglican Church, Osi-Ekiti gives Mama her very last respect as an Old Choir Mistress

The Story of her life is like the story of the desired perfect life. Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi, the God given wife of the Rt. Rev. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, the first Bishop of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Lagos West died as a fulfilled Christian despite the tribulations she faced in her last days on earth. From marriage till death, the trajectory of her life is full of graceful events. Her husband who held several positions in the Anglican Church family before his retirement in 2013 as Bishop of the largest diocese in West Africa (Lagos West Diocese) described her in the following words during a 2012 interview in Vanguard Newspaper “My wife is loving, generous, caring, industrious, and a virtuous woman”. However, Mama’s last six years on earth according to findings by this blog was a tasking one as she was alleged to have suffered a cancerous attack which Doctors claimed will take her life soon but God gave her the grace to live above medical pronouncements.

The illness according to close family sources started couple of years back during the final moments of her husband’s tenure as the pioneer Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese. Mama who met and married her Bishop husband some forty six years back at St. Philips Anglican Church, Aramoko, in present day Ekiti state-South West Nigeria was said to have been diagnosed of blood cancer which became a source of worry to her family. But due to Mama’s strong faith in the Lord, she was able to face the challenge and lived above the prescribed years doctors proclaimed.
Mama Caroline and husband  Papa Adebiyi when he was consecrated as Bishop of Owoh Diocese in 1993
 Doctor’s Verdict versus God’s Assurance
This blog gathered further that although the illness shook Mama’s health but it never shook her faith for once. The source further told Asabeafrika that even when her Doctors in London told her that she has only seven months to live due to the challenge of the illness, Mama was said to have confided in her God because she was in her late sixties at the time; through her  unshaken faith in Christ, Mama Caroline Adefiola was said to have connected into God’s promise in Psalm 90 verse 10 which states “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow. For it is soon cut off, and we fly away”.
And in line with the motto of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Lagos West, “Tell the story keep the faith” Mama was said to have lived additional four years until she clocked 70 on April 6, 2015. The birthday celebration which held in London nearly never held as her children were debating if it should be postponed till December 2015 or celebrated on same Monday 6th of April 2015. Somehow, the argument in favor of celebrating Mama’s birthday in April superseded. Unknown to Mama’s kids, God was planning to take her away in December. Everyone who knew Mama Adefiola during her challenging moments confessed that it was only God through His divine covenant and show of faithfulness that kept her till age 70. Mama did not only clocked 70 on April but she added 7 months to her 70th birthday grace before God called her home at 9:01am on Thursday December 31st 2015.
Mama Coroline & Baba during her Father-in-law's funeral
Mama’s Last Moments     
Even though year 2015 is said to be the year Mama regained her full strength from an illness that shook the fabrics of her health for 6 years but it was as if she had a premonition that her work on earth was almost finished. Part of her final activities according to close sources was her dedicated decision to start attending all female groups’ activities within the Anglican Church to motivate them on leadership and how to live a Godly life. Another interesting thing Mama was said to have done that surprised many was her decision to visit the homes of some of her private staffs who had worked with her in the past, to familiarize with them; a thing she never did before. She was equally said to have made personal calls on a daily routine to some people she considered to have misunderstood her in her younger days, including those who offended her. Between April and November, Mama was said to have converted both old foes and new friends to herself as she visited those she could visit and made calls to those she could make call to. Not until her passage to eternal glory on Thursday December 31st 2015 did many people began to read meanings to her last moment gestures. She indeed, died a fulfilled Christian.
Boye Adebiyi to GDA 'The best thing that happened to me in life is that i am Mama's son'
The Celebrations
Between Monday January 11 and Sunday January 17th, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Lagos West Diocese organized several events in her memory. On Monday 11th, a service of song was organized in Mama’s honor at The Haven beside Arch Bishop Vining Memorial Church—GRA-Ikeja. It was organized by DLW Women Organization of the church at 4pm. The next day, Tuesday January 12th a second service of song took place in her honor by the entire DLW of the Church. Wednesday January 13th was the day Mama’s body was moved from Lagos to Aromoko Ekiti, her birth place. Her local church, St. James Anglican Church, Oke-Oja Aramoko organized a Service of Songs in her honor between 5pm and 8pm. But early that day before her body left Lagos, an hour commendation service took place in her honor by 9am at Arch Bishop Vining Memorial ChurchGRA Ikeja. Thursday January 14th, 2016 her body left Aramoko Ekiti for Osi-Ekiti her husband’s place of birth where a lying-in-state program was held at her residence, Ule-Tinuwe, Olorunsogo by Isao Street, Osi Ekiti. A Christian Wake Keeping Program later took place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Osi-Ekiti in the evening.
Mama's Scion, Mr. Boye Adebiyi in a pensive mood for mum
Friday January 15, Mama’s body was interred at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Osi-Ekiti after an early hour funeral service. Reception & Entertainment of guests took place at St. Paul’s Primary School Field, Iludi Street, Osi-Ekiti. Sunday January 17 was the Outing and Thanksgiving Day as Mama’s children, family, friends and well-wishers congregated at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Osi-Ekiti at 11 am to thank God for a life well spent. 
 Mama’s Children give testimonies
Your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog Asabeafrika spoke with some of Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi’s children on what they feel about their mum and how they will describe her last moments on earth. Enjoy the excerpts
Top Ekiti traditional Leaders sent in Staff of Office to honor Mama
I told God to let my mum clock 70 before death—Adedayo, Mama’s 3rd Child who is a clergy.
What would you say about your mum?
My mum is a wonderful woman, a woman that touched a lot of lives, a woman who was dedicated to the service of her fellow human being. She was hard working and she hates idleness. And she instilled that discipline in us that we must not be found idling at nothing. So, she is the most wonderful woman I ever met in my life.
She spent 46 years in the marriage with your dad, how did she survive the ups and downs?
I really don’t know, I don’t know the secret. I tell people all the time that for those 46 years, not for once have I ever witnessed my mum and my dad argue. I know they have their differences but they just have their ways of sorting things out. So, it is the most wonderful marriage that I ever witnessed and I do hope I can have a marriage that is as wonderful as that.
Late Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi in her best Evangelical apparel while alive
Can you tell us your full name and how many of you?
 I am Adedayo Adebiyi. We are 7 and I am the 3rd child, we have 4 men and three women and I am the third child of the family.
So, how do you think dad is going to cope without mum?
Life is never going to be the same but at the same time; she brought us up to trust God and to rely on God even in times of trouble. I just think this is the time for us to depend on the grace of God to carry us through and I know that is exactly what she wants us to do.
If you are to write a memoir on your mum, what are the 3 prominent words that will be used in describing her?
A committed Christian, a wonderful mother and a devoted wife
Do you see her in the mode of the brand of woman in Proverb 31?
Exactly; that was my mum, like I said she hates idleness and she was quite hardworking.
Some Very Important Ministers of God @ Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi's Service of Songs in Lagos
Your mum seemed to have fulfilled Psalm 90 verse 10?
In fact one of my prayers was that she should turn 70 years before she goes and I was glad when she turned 70 last April and we thought let us just defer this celebration till December but on the other note we said ‘you know what, let us just do this celebration’. So, there was a big celebration for her in the United Kingdom and we thank God we took that decision.
Mama & Baba Adebiyi during Retirement Party
So, you are fulfilled to have honored your second thought as death could have cheated you of that now?
We will have missed that, had it been we didn’t do that last April; she would have left without being celebrated on her 70th birthday. So, we thank God for giving us the wisdom and opportunity to celebrate her 70th birthday.
What do you say to people who hold your parents in high esteem from all across the world?
I just want to say Thank you very much, to each and every one of them, even those who can not make it down here. Messages were sent from all over the world, people calling, people visiting, people sending text messages even over social media; facebook, twitter, there have been loads and loads of outpouring of goodwill messages and it is just to say thank you to each and every one of them and my prayer is that, God will also remember them in their own time of trouble.
Pall-Bearers serenade with Mama's body on her last journey on earth
First Son, Mr. Boye Adebiyi speaks to the GDA
I count myself privileged to be her son—Boye, Mama’s 1st Son
Tell us your name and what you think about your mum?
My name is Adeboye Adebiyi the first son of Mama Adefiola Caroline Adebiyi, well as a child I can say I am very fortunate that I came through her, including my siblings. And I am very happy that she was my mother, she supported her husband through out her lifetime and she is indeed a virtuous woman. I am very grateful to God.
Mama's Children at the Monday January 11 event by DWL Group in Lagos
Can you say your mum is that brand of Proverb 31 Woman?
Yes. Absolutely yes! She exhibits those virtues of hard work and sense of discipline. My mum was a working woman.
What were those things she instilled in you while growing up?    
That in all things, that whatever happens, you should put your trust in God, that there is nothing in this world that you can achieve except you put God first because the Bible says ‘seek first the kingdom of God and every other thing will be added unto you’. Those were the virtues Mama instilled in us, that irrespective of the troubles of life you must trust in God.
Mr. Adedayo Adebiyi in a Pensive Mood for Mum
How did you receive the news of her demise?
I was not around when she eventually passed on but few weeks before I travelled out of town, I met with her, she was full of life and she was equally thanking God and one of her story is that because she doesn’t know when Jesus will take her in but that whatever happens, she thank God and according to what my siblings said, she said ‘if it is for me and my household, I will serve the Lord’ that was her last statement as she passed away.
How did you think your dad will cope without her after 46 years?
We pray that God will give him strength and the courage to carry on. And we the children will do all our possible best to ensure that we take good care of him and I know that it is only God that can as well take care of him but we will try all our possible best. And we will ensure he won’t feel the impact.
Mama Caroline Adebiyi in her younger look
If you are to write a memoir about your mum, how would you describe her in words?
A fulfilled woman; that is what I can tag the title of my book on her because I believe she was able to fulfill her purpose in her life time.
What do you have for people who hold your mum and dad in very high esteem?
Without the support of the members, the clergy, the laity and the entire congregation of the Diocese of Lagos West and the Church of Nigeria in general, without their support, I am very sure this Diocese of Lagos West wouldn’t have been where it is now. So, I want to use this opportunity to thank everybody, both male and female, young and old who have contributed immensely to the success of my parents, especially Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi, God bless you all.
Mama's 7 Lovely & Godly Children standing in Worship @ The Lagos event
Mama's 1st Daughter, Mrs. Aderonke Fatile
Mum hates anyone that cheats the poor--1st Daughter, Mrs. Fatile
 How would you describe your mum, Mama Caroline Adebiyi?
My name is Mrs. Aderonke Fatile I am her first daughter, describing her you would have to go through the book of Proverb Chapter 31 what the Bible describes as a virtuous woman who supports her husband and does everything good for the family, the children rise up and call her blessed. So, when you see my mum, she is a virtuous woman. She is humble, generous, very accommodating and all these are in Proverb Chapter 31.
Mama Caroline Adebiyi with hubby, Children and grand children  during her 70th birthday in London on Monday April 6th, 2015
Can you recall her last moment? 
I was with her in the hospital, though I didn’t know she will pass on but even in her pain, she exhibited faith because it was a very painful moment when she passed on. The last thing she was saying as she passed away was that ‘as for me and my Household, we will serve The LORD’
Mama's children and a team of clergy during her funeral in Ekiti State
What were those things she taught you while growing up that is still helping you till date?
My mum always sing a song that says ‘My Lord is cheerful all the time, He sees what we do, he hears what we say’ she always tell us that wherever you find yourself, God is watching you and she taught me that whatever I become, I must be humble. That even if you have people working for you, you don’t know what they will become tomorrow. You don’t just rubbish people because they are working for you or they are your house help.  So, she really, really taught me to be very humble, very accommodating and to be tolerant especially in my home.
How do you think Baba will survive without Mama after 46 years?
The next step is for us to support him with prayers because when Mummy died I was not crying for Mummy I was really crying for Daddy, that ‘how is he going to cope?’ But we know that we have more work to do, we will continue to pray for him because we cannot be there with him twenty four hours. But we will always try our best to be with him, to encourage him and to try to fill the gap.
Mama Caroline & Papa Adebiyi during their 42nd Wedding Anniversary couple of years ago
I learnt you nearly missed celebrating her last birthday? Do you feel fulfilled that you celebrated it at last?
Yes, I am happy we celebrated her, she was 70 in April last year and she has gone through a lot because she has been sick for maybe 6 years back. For her to turn 70 was a miracle. And so we said ‘Mummy turned 70, she must be celebrated’ because so many times she has been threatened by death and God delivered her. So, when she turned 70, we all decided that we are going to celebrate her and thank God we did in April 2015.
Mama's 3rd Child, Adedayo Adebiyi (2nd Left) with some dignatories
If you are to write a book on your mum, what are  the things you will put in the book about her?
I will say my mum is a woman of uncommon character. She also has an uncommon name, that Adefiola, how many people have you seen bearing that name? No wonder her character is uncommon. So, if I am opportune to write a book about her, I write about a woman with an uncommon character.
Mr. Adedayo Adebiyi to the GDA 'Mum was a virtuous Woman'
What do you say to people who hold your parents in high esteem across the world?
I want to say a big thank you to all well wishers who has wished us well at this period, so many people called from London, from America and different parts of the country, old students of the schools she attended and the entire members of Lagos West, the Bishop and his wife and every member of Lagos West we want to thank them for supporting us at this point in time.

Mama's 3rd Child, Adedayo Adebiyi speaks with the GDA at Mum's Service of Songs
What you don’t know about Late Mama, Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi
+ Untold story of her 46 years romance with hubby.  
Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi was born on the 6th of April, 1945 into the family of Chief Gabriel Abon Ayedun and Chief (Mrs.) Esther Omiyale Ayedun in Oisinkin Compound of Oke-Oja Street, Aramoko Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti state.
Her parents were peasant farmers who were very hardworking and religious. They had four children, all girls from Mama Esther Omiyale Ayedun’s side and their parents brought them up in the way of the Lord. Mama Caroline Adefiola had her Primary School education at St. Philips Anglican Primary School in Aramoko Ekiti from 1955 to 1961. She attended St. John’s Secondary Modern School in Aramoko Ekiti from 1962 to 1964 where she obtained her Modern 3 certificate. She later proceeded to Local Authority Teacher’s Training College (LATTC) in Ibadan in the year 1967 and graduated in 1970.
Late Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi in her lifetime
How Mama met and fell in Love with Baba
Her husband; the Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi met her when he was an organist at St. Philips Anglican Church, Aramoko in 1965, the young and beautiful Caroline Adefiola was then a member of the choir, she was very quite and always busy knitting one thing or the other while others make noise and jest before the actual choir rehearsal begin. Sometimes, she will just chuckle at what others were doing but would soberly continue her work and interest.
At that time; her husband; Mr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi who was only an organist had no inclination whatsoever to propose to her, he was only busy with his work as an organist. Mama later became a Ward Maid at the Rural Health Center, Aramoko Ekiti, where her would-be-mother-in-law then, the late Mama Alice Fatinuwe Adebiyi was admitted and treated for an abscess. She attended to her with love, care and affection during that period and Mama Alice Fatuniwe knew and appreciated her.
Four of Mama's Children strategizing on what to do next
…And God joined Awelewa with Adefiola
In a dream, her husband saw someone handing the young and delectable Caroline over to his own mother saying in Yoruba but translated in English ‘This is the woman who will build a happy home for you’. Having relayed the dream to his friends, who only made jest of him, Awelewa (as fondly called) however began to look and monitor Adefiola more closely. The courtship began formerly in 1966 and they got married on the 7th of November, 1970 at St. Philips Anglican Church, Aramoko Ekiti. The marriage is blessed with 7 successful children and 21 promising grand children. The Rt. Reverend Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, her beloved husband confirmed that his journey and transfer to Aramoko Ekiti was divinely orchestrated as he was initially posted to Okitipupa in Ondo state but because of the need for an organist at St. Philip’s Aramoko, he was issued another transfer letter. Most importantly, the transfer was divinely schemed for him to meet his missing rib and perfect soul mate; Caroline.
The Funeral Service at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Osi Ekiti
Mama’s Working Career in details
Mama Boye (As fondly called) had an exemplary teaching career; she infused Christian virtues and ethics on her students. She worked as a class room teacher at St. John Mary Primary School in Owo from 1969 to 1970; she was later transferred to Holy Trinity Primary School in Ilawe-Ekiti where she taught from 1971 to 1973. She worked at Ansar-Udeen Primary School from 1973 to 1975. She also worked in St. Michael’s Primary School, Ikoro-Ekiti from 1976 to 1983; St. Andrew’s Primary School, Oke-Ila in Ado-Ekiti from 1983 to 1987. She worked in the Local Government Primary School from 1987 to 1992, she equally taught at St. John Mary in Owo, when her husband was consecrated as the Lord Bishop of Owo diocese in 1993. She retired as Head Teacher in 1995 to dedicate herself to the work of God and supporting the ministry of her husband which she did diligently.
Her work in the church societies and Women Organization in Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion and beyond cannot be over emphasized. She is a member of the Mother’s Union and Women’s Guild of Archbishop Vining Memorial Anglican Cathedral. She is also a member of the Board of Grace, St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Ikoro Ekiti.
Mama Caroline Adefiola & Papa Awelewa  Adebiyi on their  Wedding Day on 7th November, 1970
She was also involved in the provision of skilled acquisition and vocational training for women pro-poverty alleviation and economic empowerment. She specializes in knitting, tie and die, soap and cream making, natural herbs mixing among others. Her culinary skills cannot be ignored by her immediate family, extended family members and myriads of visitors who find comfort in her home. They all ate from the same pot and enjoyed most especially her Pounded Yam and all kinds of native soups. Sunday evenings in Mama’s home is like revelry time.
Mama Adefiola is an impeccable seamstress; she runs an office where she makes priests and church vestment among others. Mama Caroline as an industrious woman ran all kinds of businesses ranging from managing a patent medicine store in Ado Ekiti then, to owing a beauty salon in Owo, Ondo state and a boutique in Ikoro-Ekiti. She did all of these to support her family as they sojourn from one town to the other during a hectic ministry work, little wonder, her husband would always comment that she earns more than he did.
The Last Celebration for Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi
Mama and her husband served in various churches in Lagos; her husband the Canon, Dr. Adebiyi was the Vicar of Arch-Bishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja between September 1987 and May 1993 before he became the Bishop of Owo Diocese on the 26th of May, 1993, they also returned to Lagos when her husband was transferred to become the pioneer Bishop of Lagos West Diocese on the 20th of November, 1999 where they built a viable diocese together and contributed to the growth of other churches within and outside Lagos.
Mama's Children, grand children with members of clergy after final funeral rites at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Osi Ekiti
In spite of her health challenges, she worked tirelessly supporting the ministry of her husband until their retirement on 27th of April 2013. God called her home on the 31st of December, 2015 by 9am. Her last word was ‘Bi o se emi ati ile mi, Oluwa ni awa yoo maa sin” She quoted from Joshua 24 verse 15…’But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD’
Asabeafrika wishes Mama Caroline Adefiola Adebiyi a peaceful rest in the bosom of her maker (Amen).

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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