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THE FOUNDATION GROUP
(L to R) Sr. Marie Clotilde (Provincial Team); Sr. Marguerite (Indian)
Sr Loretta (Australian); Sr. Conception (Spanish) Sr Xavier (Provincial Team)
Mother Mary Agnes (New Zealander and first Superior);
Mother Marie (Provincial Superior)
Celebration of Thanksgiving Mass
The Eucharistic Celebration of Thanksgiving was held on 26th June 2021, followed by the traditional fia fia. There were 24 priests concelebrating, and in the absence of the Archbishop who was ill, the Vicar General Mgr. Etuale Etuale was the main celebrant. Our photos show this great event.
The Cross always accompanies great joy and the cross of this day was heavy for Mother Provincial Angela who was unable to be present at the celebration due to COVID travel restrictions. However, a zoom meeting with the community was held the following day to the joy and consolation of all.
At the end of Mass, Mother Maria Francis, Superior, gave the following address:
MOTHER MARIA FRANCIS ADDRESSES THE GATHERING
The Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor came in contact with the Mission of Western Samoa at the beginning of March 1970, when Father Peter Schwehr, Marist Father, became ill and could not be cared for in Samoa. For 40 years, Father had devoted his life to the Samoan Mission. He was sent to Auckland, for treatment and it soon became evident that he could never return to his beloved Mission. At the request of Bishop Pio Taofinu’u Bishop of Samoa, Father was received into our home in Auckland, new Zealand, and this was Bishop Pio’s first contact with the Little Sisters He wrote to the Provincial House in Sydney:
"While in New Zealand, I came in contact with your Sisters and visited their institution. I would like the Little Sisters to come to the Diocese of Samoa because you would give the witness of the charity of Christ, your life is in complete conformity with the Gospel, you are caring for the Aged, without looking for reward – you do it because you see Christ in them.
"The Government Hospital is available for the people living in and about Apia, but little can be done for the sick and aged away from the town. It might be possible for you to run a clinic or visit the sick and such like work.
"Seeing your work in New Zealand has really inspired me to write to you. It would please me a great deal to hear from you, and give you any information that you might want in order to form a decision. I recommend myself to your kind attention and pray that something may come of this contact with you.."
Receiving the letter, Mother Provincial Marie de la Passion came to Samoa with her secretary Sr. Xavier de la Providence, to assess the situation before presenting the proposition to our Mother House. They found it exactly as the Bishop explained. The proposition of the foundation was submitted to La Tour during the General Chapter of that year, the new foundation was accepted and Mother Provincial communicated the good news to Bishop Pio Taofinu’u.
On June 27th 1971 after concelebrated Mass in Sydney when they received their mission crosses, the first missionaries, accompanied by the Provincial Council, boarded the flight that would take them to their new destination, Apia, Western Samoa.
THE FIRST RESIDENTS
1975: In April we received our first Residents five men and six ladies all very infirm. All rejoiced to see the elderly happy in their new home. By the month of August there were already 50 Residents in Mapuifagalele.
Our pilgrims arrived on Samoan soil on the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which occurred on a Sunday. They travelled to Samoa via Fiji, stayed overnight there and arrived in Samoa on the same day they left Australia as the time zone was different at that time.
They arrived at Faleolo Airport early in the morning. Bishop Pio Taofinu'u awaited the group, together with several Marist Sisters and about 30 young girls from the Children of Mary who placed magnificent leis of fresh flowers around each one of them as a sign of Welcome.
At 4p.m the Sisters were taken to the Cathedral for the welcoming Mass officiated by Bishop Pio.
There is much to tell, it was not easy when they first arrived. The Sisters were able to visit the sick in the villages and they saw at first hand the need for a home. Bishop Pio was able to accompany the Sisters to different families to see the sick and he was able to celebrate Mass in their homes.
In 1972, September 14th, Mother Mary Agnes was tragically wounded in town while she was doing errands. She was taken to the hospital Moto’otua. In spite of their attentive care they could not relieve her sufferings, which lasted 18 days. A few days before she died, she said: "Moseniol I can’t do any more. I offer my life for the Church, the Mission, especially for Samoa”. When she died she was surrounded by her Little Sisters from the community, also other religious, Sr. Claver a Mercy sister who had nursed her with such devotedness and nearly all nurses of the hospital were present, her mother from New Zealand, Bishop Pio, Fr. Milne and Fr. Ward SM were all present.
DEATH OF MOTHER MARY AGNES
Sr. Loretta on her village rounds
Mother Mary Agnes
50 YEARS IN SAMOA
What joy for the present Community in Samoa to hear first hand from Sister Marguerite of the joys and sorrows of this foundation. She is greatly loved by the Samoan people and continues to excel in her culinary skills as she has done for the past 50 years.
FA'AFETAI FA'AFETAI LAVA
A big Thank You to all, Friends and Benefactors, Different Associations, All Denominations of Churches, Schools, Different Businesses and Companies. Different Ministries. Your support for Mapuifagalele not once but many times. We pray and hope that God will continue to bless each one of you. Fa’afetai Fa’afetai lava.
S O I F U A
Mother Mary Agnes