Umo Udo

From: Itu, Nigeria  Current City: Minneapolis, MN
"Life’s not a straight line; it’s curvy. Often we give up just before taking that last turn. My goal is to tell people to just take one more step. Keep going one more step."
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Umo Udo uses the endurance she gained overcoming hardships, in both her home country of Nigeria as well as her first few years in the U.S., to help those in need find within themselves the strength to continue down life’s path.

Upon moving from her childhood home in southeastern Nigeria to the predominantly Islamic north, where she completed her degree in hotel management, political conditions deteriorated to the extent that Christians were in danger of physical violence. It was at this time that she met her husband, a Lutheran pastor, and together they gave birth to their first child. Shortly thereafter, Umo’s husband took an opportunity to pursue his Ph.D. in the United States while she and their newborn son remained in Nigeria. Under constant threat of attack, the days became increasingly arduous; the nights grew restless. By the time she was awarded a visa, eight months had passed.

Although reuniting with her husband was comforting, her first years within the U.S. were burdensome. Umo and her family, unable to work full-time on account of their student status, struggled to live on $400 a month; however, she did what she could to help cover expenses. Umo went on to finish her advanced theological education at Luther Seminary. Ms. Udo’s resiliency serves as an inspiration for those she serves in her current work.

Ms. Udo is now the Head of Spiritual Care at Catholic Charities in the greater Twin Cities area. Umo and her husband have three children: their son and two daughters.

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