Nigerian Teen on Path to Beatification, Canonization “exhibited an extraordinary depth of spirituality”: Catholic Bishop

Vivian Ogu. Credit: Vivian Ogu Movement (VOM)

Vivian Uchechi Ogu, the 14-year-old Nigerian girl, who opted to be killed rather than be sexually defiled manifested a deep spirituality, Bishop Simeon Okezuo Nwobi has said.

Vivian, a native of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Benin City, was murdered on 15 November 2009 by armed robbers who attacked her home. The armed men took Vivian out of the house and attempted to rape her. She refused and opted to be killed instead.

Last October, the Nigerian Catholic Archdiocese issued an edict on the cause of Beatification and Canonization of Vivian. 

In the edict that the Local Ordinary of Benin City, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze and the Chancellor, Fr. Michael Oyanoafoh, co-signed, people of God were invited “to come forth” and “give valid testimony … whether favorable or contrary to the reputation of martyrdom and holiness” of Vivian.

The edict, the Catholic Church leaders explained, was prompted by the finding that Vivian’s “reputation for martyrdom and holiness has continued to increase since her death”, and that the Archdiocese of Benin City had been “formally requested to open the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, bringing it to the attention of the ecclesial community.”


In his message during the Opening Session of the Tribunal for the Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God on Tuesday, May 21, Bishop Simeon Okezuo Nwobi, said, “Today, we gather to begin a journey of faith not just for the Archdiocese of Benin City or the Diocese of Ahiara but for the Church in Nigeria and the entire world.”

“We have been drawn together by a life of purity and martyrdom. We have been drawn together by a remarkable young soul,” Bishop Nwobi, who is set to be installed as the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Ahiara Diocese following his May 3 appointment added. 

From her early years, he emphasized, Vivian “exhibited an extraordinary depth of spirituality and a profound love for the Lord.”

“Her life was a beautiful mosaic of acts of kindness, deep prayerful life, and unwavering commitment to the Gospel. She was a source of joy and inspiration to all who knew her,” the Nigeria-born member of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians) said on May 21 at St. Paul Parish of the Archdiocese of Benin City.

He went on to say, “Vivian's life was a testament to unwavering faith, boundless compassion, and steadfast devotion to God.”

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“In spite of her young age, she exemplified virtues that many strive to embody throughout a lifetime. Her love for others knew no bounds, as she selflessly served those in need, comforting the afflicted and spreading the Gospel wherever she went just like the Saints did,” Bishop Nwobi said.

The Nigerian Catholic Church leader, who was appointed Auxiliary Bishop last October and assigned the Titular See of Rusguniae further lauded Vivian as one who “stands as a model for young people and a challenge to their modern lifestyle.”

Vivian, he said, “reminds us that sanctity is not confined to the cloister or the hermitage but is possible in the everyday lives of those who choose to follow Christ with all their hearts.”

“Her deep relationship with God helped her to stand firm in the face of adversity and imminent martyrdom. Thus, she has become an exemplar of faith and virtue in our times,” the Catholic Bishop said, and added, “In the spirit of joy and hope, we entrust this cause to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints.”

“May the example of Vivian inspire us to live our faith with renewed fervor and to seek God's will in all things,” Bishop Nwobi implored. 


Born in April 1995, Vivian received her First Holy Communion at St. Paul Parish of Benin City Archdiocese in March 2005. At the time of her death, she was in the preparatory class for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which was scheduled for 2010.

Vivian was the first President of the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) which was inaugurated at St. Paul Parish in 2006.

In September 2019, the Edo State Government launched the Vivian Ogu Sexual Assault Referral Centre to provide services for and support to survivors of sexual assault in Edo State, in honor of Vivian.

The Archdiocese of Benin City celebrates Memorial Day for Vivian Ogu on November 15 each year.

Every third Saturday of each month, children and teenagers from the Archdiocese of Benin City visit the Vivian Ogu Missionary Animation Centre to be animated to follow the footsteps of Vivian Ogu.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.