Death of last founding member
of Mapuifagalele, Samoa
Sister Marguerite Marie du Coeur Immaculee died peacefully in Samoa, on Pentecost Sunday, 5th June, 2022. She was the last of the foundation group who arrived in Samoa on 27th June, 1971.
Born in Kerala, India in 1935, Sr. Marguerite entered the Little Sisters of the Poor in Madras when she was 18 years old, and studied in the novitiate in Penang, Malaysia. She made her first vows in 1957, then spent some time in Calcutta before going to our Mother House in France for the 2nd Novitiate. After pronouncing perpetual vows she was assigned to the Province of Oceania. In 1971 she travelled to Samoa with the foundation group. Her culinary skills were put to good use as she adapted to a Samoan cuisine and provided meals for Residents, Sisters, Visitors and all social functions. After 10 years, in 1982, she received a new mission to Kowloon. In 1987 she moved again, this time to Noumea. Finally, in 1989 she returned to her beloved Samoa where she spent the rest of her life.
The passing of Sr Marguerite engendered memories of the tragic beginnings of the foundation in Samoa.
Death of first Mother Superior of Samoa.
In 1972, September 14th, Mother Mary Agnes was tragically wounded in the main street of Apia while out shopping. She was taken to the hospital Moto’otua where she died 18 days later, surrounded by her Little Sisters from the community, other religious, and nearly all nurses of the hospital. Her mother from New Zealand, Bishop Pio, Fr. Milne and Fr. Ward SM were all present. click here for more information
It was Cardinal Pio Taofinuʻu, S.M. who made the request for the Little Sisters to come to Samoa. The tradgedy of this death touched him profoundly. In her memory, he arranged for a tomb to be erected in the grounds of our Home, Mapuifagalele. Here, Mother Mary Agnes was laid to rest 51 years ago. The tomb overlooks the sea and has been a place of peace and prayer all those years.
Some time before her death, Sr. Marguerite had requested that she be buried with Mother Mary Agnes. This request was put into action by the hard work of our workmen and a building firm who are benefactors. They cleared the surrounding ground and bushes and varnished the pillars, plastered and painted the inside and the outside and the pavings around the tomb so that on the actual day of the
burial all was ready.
The funeral Mass was very beautiful in its simplicity; the staff and some Residents led the singing in true Samoan style. Archbishop Alapati Lui Mata’eliga was in attendance, with 10 priests and three deacons on the altar. The Archbishop gave a very meaningful homily which touched all those near and far. The Mass was live streamed for the benefit of Sr. Marguerite's family in India, USA and Sydney, Australia. All the communities of the Province were able to participate, thanks to this technology.
After Mass, the funeral procession made its way to the newly prepared tomb where Sr. Marguerite was laid to rest. This will be a place of remembrance and prayer for the years to come.