On the 9th February, 1897 four Little Sisters arrived in Noumea. We will allow those first Little Sisters to tell the story, as it is recorded in the Archives of the Home.
“The house that was offered us was large, beautiful and – very clean. It is built on the slopes of a lush green hill and ablaze with the multi-coloured flowers that are so much part of these islands. From the house we can see the harbour of azure blue and the town of Noumea.
“We found the house already fitted with seven beds, chairs and several tables, as well as the beginnings of a linen store! The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny kindly offered us hospitality until we were a little more organized.
Our joy was complete, when on February 24th we welcomed three elderly gentlemen, one of whom bore the name Joseph. The elderly were with us: Our Lord in the poor, lived under the same roof as us. On February 28th, we received our first two women, and quickly the number of residents grew to twelve. Many of the first elderly gentlemen had been deported from France for their part in the Paris uprising of 1870. One, in particular, was very infirm and weak, but nevertheless, still maintained his revolutionary and ante-religious convictions! We prayed very much for him. A few weeks before he died, he was converted and died supported by all the Sacraments of the Church.
This beautiful foundation house soon became too small for the number of elderly seeking admission. In 1900 a well situated piece of land, with a small house attached, was acquired. This was paid for entirely through the generosity of the Bishop and our benefactors.
In June 1902, we moved to our new house. Eight soldiers from the French Marine Corps volunteered their services for the transfer.
Thus, Mount Saint Marie became the Home for hundreds of men and women of New Caledonia. In 19 a new modern Home was built and the elderly have the latest in comfortable accommodation, as they deserve.