Family denies reports

The family of a young woman claiming to be carrying the marks of Jesus Christ’s suffering has rubbished a number of reports going around about her.

Toaipuapuaga Opapo’s father, Reverend Opapo, said there are so many stories being spread on social media about his daughter but none of them is true. 

“People have been saying on social media that she has been in hospital for two weeks and that our family is looking for blood because she has lost so much blood,” he said.

“None of these reports is true, my daughter is well and she is nowhere near the hospital. I heard about those rumors and I read about them as well. I told my children not to reply to any of those comments.”

Rev. Opapo said his daughter continues to carry the marks on her hands, feet and forehead. As a father, he said it hurts him when he sees what people are saying about his daughter.

 “I got an advice from some people that it’s time for justice to be served but I don’t want to, just let them talk,” he added. 

“My daughter is busy preparing their papers because we are planning to leave for New Zealand to attend to my daughter’s graduation and because our families there requested for her to come over.” 

Rev. Opapo said Toa has remained strong throughout the ordeal and she continues to pray for Samoa. Since she made national and international headlines, Toa has received many requests from different churches for her to speak there. 

Last Sunday evening for example, she honoured an invitation from the Fagaloa Catholic Church who asked her to retell her story.

 “If people still don’t believe, that’s their right,” he said.

Yesterday, she was at Savalalo Primary School where she addressed students and teachers during a special assembly. 

She is scheduled to attend Samatau’s Divine Mercy Service tonight.

This weekend, she was scheduled to speak at the Gagaifo Congregational Church but that has since been cancelled due to a family funeral in Savai’i.

 “Besides, our family in Savai’i are asking us to bring her along because they want to see and meet her.”

When she was approached by the Samoa Observer for a comment, Toa declined.

“There’s no need to comment,” she said. “Let them say what they want to say, I just continue my work that I was sent to do.”

Two weeks ago, the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Samoa, Alapati Lui Mataeliga, cautioned against drawing conclusions against Toa. 

 “We know from the history of the church that it’s normally Catholics who have this,” Archbishop Mataeliga said.

 “Personally, to have something like this happen to a young Samoan lady whose parents belong to the E.F.K.S, to me that is a blessing. It tells us that God doesn’t differentiate between people. He is a God for everyone and he chooses whoever he wants to use to send us a message.” 

And God often chooses the lowly, the weak and humble, he said.

 “If you observe this young lady carefully, she is very humble. She is someone who carries herself with so much humility.”

Archbishop Mataeliga added that such cases are not new in the Catholic Church.

And with Toa being a member of the E.F.K.S, the Catholic Church has only become involved to offer support.

Asked about people criticizing Toa, the Archbishop said this is disappointing.

 “People are free to choose but I think it’s important to take our time, hear her out and not be quick to judge her.  

 “So even in the Catholic Church, we are not rushing into anything… I’ve spoken with her father and he said they are waiting for their Annual General meeting … and so we’re happy to offer prayers and wait. Let’s try and work out what God is telling us.

 “I’m not pointing the finger at anybody in particular but to me the miracle in all this is a man’s heart, whether they receive it or reject it. If we receive it, there must be a change in our lives. So it’s not about pointing the finger and judging, it’s about hearing out what the message really is for us.”

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