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Sur Marie Manuela Thorax

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 26/06/2019

SMSM SistersSister Marie Manuela, smsm

Emmanuelle Marie Joséphine THORAX

15/09/1926 – 26/06/2019


Sister Manuela was born on 15 September 1926 in Saint Lupicin, Jura, France. She always had a great affection for her family, and was very close to her nephews and nieces.

As a child, she had the future Sister M. Anatoile, smsm as a teacher! After commercial and typing studies, she entered the postulancy of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary in 1947, at Gemens in Isere, where the novitiate had been established during the second world war; it was there that she made her first vows on 8 September 1949.

Sister M. Manuela was appointed to New Caledonia, and left immediately. She began her missionary life in 1950 as a teacher in Saint Louis, then at Thabor, near Noumea. From 1962-1964 she taught at Bourail, then on Lifou. In 1965 she returned to France for a home visit, and a period of renewal, called “second novitiate” at Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon.

On her return to New Caledonia, Sister was appointed to Bourail, then to Tye, and again to Bourail. She returned to France for a home visit in 1973, and went for a short time to Saint-Victoret. When she returned to New Caledonia, she taught in La Foa, Isle of Pines, Ouvea and Bourail, with home visits in 1979 and 1984.

From 1984-1987, Sister Manuela served in the secretariat of the SMSM General House in Rome. After that she went to France for a home visit, and set out again for New Caledonia where she worked in the secretariat of the Archdiocese, and also visited the sick. In 2012, she returned to France definitively, and was appointed to the community at Sainte-Foy.

Sister Manuela loved to laugh and to tell jokes; she had a good supply of stories to tell, and loved the opportunity to tell them. She did not speak of her own inner life, so we do not know much about that, but she was a faithful religious and had boundless confidence in Mary. She found it difficult to cope with too much noise; but she loved classical music and played the organ. She had many practical skills like drawing, making and repairing things. Sister Manu needed her quiet time, but she did not lack dynamism in her apostolate, and loved the people she met in her various ministries. She suffered poor health all throughout her life. In Oceania, it was severe arthritis, but she was able to go to New Zealand for treatment at the thermal pools.

Over these past few years, her health deteriorated, and finally after several periods in hospital, she returned to the community for a few weeks before she died in the late afternoon of Wednesday 26 June. Sisters Male and Lena were with her when she died.

Her funeral was held on 29 June in the chapel at Sainte-Foy on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a feast day Mass for these two “pillars of the Church”. We followed the beautiful liturgy of the day which was so appropriate for a life offered to God as Marist, missionary and religious. Four members of Sister’s family were able to come.

All throughout her life she sought to know and love the Lord and Mary - in the words of the second reading: “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come for me now is the crown of uprightness which the Lord, the upright judge will give to me on that Day.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Rest in peace, Manu!


Sister Marie Jose de Préville, smsm