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24.11.2014 04:03:41 18153x read.
Tribute to Late Bro. Nicholas Zumana, FIC. (Alpitio Kog).


“SEEK TO DO GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER AND TO ALL” WHO AM I?   I believe late Bro. Nicholas Zumanaa, affectionally called “Nicho” has asked this question “who am I” quite often in his life and each time he will have given a similar but not the same answer.  This is because he was a person who believed in growth and development of the human person no matter what.  

Nicho started thinking of joining FIC while he was still a student at Nandom Secondary School and seriously considered this option after he completed St. John Bosco’s Teacher Training College in 1975. He taught for a year before he then applied to start his formation in 1976. He did the two-year formation programme under the leadership of his former tutor Bro. Alfred Fest in Wa, St. Louis. He completed his initial formation with his temporary vows in September 1978.  It turned out that it was not so easy for his parents to accept his choice of life. Mainly his mother had a lot of difficulties, especially because he was the only boy in the family. She, however, soon discovered that she got many more children through her son becoming a religious brother, when Nicho regularly brought fellow-brothers to the house and she got to know them.  

Nicho himself passed through a hard time during the period of his temporary profession, wondering whether this was the right choice of life for him. He struggled with the demands of traditional culture and heritage and the demands made by his being a religious brother. It was not an easy time for him, but he managed to come to terms with this struggle and ultimately this made him into a very happy person, who transmitted this happiness to all whom he met.

He became a very mature and well-balanced person through this struggle and was open at all times to other people who were engaged in a personal struggle. This enabled him to make his final commitment as an FIC brother in 1987 in a beautiful ceremony in his home parish Nadowli. Both his family and the brothers, felt very happy. In the meantime, Nicho got involved within the province in all kinds of jobs: he taught in various schools and became engaged in religious formation. Wherever he went, he left a mark and made an impression upon people, which they cannot forget.

Nicho had a special gift and talent: he knew how to touch the hearts of people he met and through this he built lasting relationships and realized the religious ideals he was standing for. That is why in 1994 he was elected into our General Council by the General Chapter in Salatiga, Indonesia. It was a very challenging assignment; the first truly international General Council of the Congregation, which Nicho took very seriously. He learnt Dutch and was not afraid to use it wherever he went and this earned him many friends and well-wishers in Holland.  

After the following General Chapter in Wa in 2000, he was elected to be the Provincial Superior of the Ghana Province and led the provincial team for six years. He did so with enthusiasm and a deep sense of direction.  He was fully aware of the need of brothers to be first and foremost “men of God” who “like everyone else ask for the deepest and most perfect happiness.”(FIC Const. no.1). In this sense, he actively accompanied brothers on their journey in religious life. Personal contacts, listening and reflection were the strong points he brought to the job entrusted to him by the communities in the province. In this way, he continued with what we started as General Council in 1994: build a strong and viable brotherhood.  Again, after this period of being in administration he went for a sabbatical in St. Anselm’s Kent, UK, where he deepened his sense of religious values and how to express them. This led him into Nandom Senior High School as the Headmaster, where again he stimulated youngsters to develop themselves fully and challenged them to become meaningful leaders for the future. Again he built community, brotherhood among people as our Constitutions say:  “We form a community that is open towards others. First of all towards those for whom we are working or with whom we are working, then towards relatives, acquaintances, and all kinds of people we meet in changing situations.” (FIC Const. no. 52). 

Nicho gave this shape in many creative and innovative ways through the parties he organized, the connections he entertained carefully with people at home and abroad, through the special occasions organized in the school like speech and prize- giving days, the 40th jubilee celebration of the school in 2008 and his retirement celebration last March ending, where all participants felt part of a larger family. He had the special gift as a religious brother to bind people together and make them feel related. At the same time he was quick to discover when someone had personal problems to be listened to and be counselled for. He was ready to do so. This made him into a kind of public person who sometimes was too tired in the evening to really pray to his God who had called him. Still this same God knew his situation and I am sure looked on him with the same compassion and love that Nicho himself exhibited to those he met during the day.  

We lost a great and rich fellow-brother. We have no words to express our inmost feelings, apart from admiring his qualities and the way he used them for fellow-people. May we brothers FIC find consolation and courage in this and May the Lord change our confusion into gratitude for what Nicho was and meant to each one of us.  May Nicho continue to live in our hearts and thus rest in Perfect Peace.

Nicho “gare benye”, Nico, “kyere te waar”, Nicho, “Naamwin de fo gbee!”


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