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Sr Marie Cecile de Mijola

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 25/11/2019


SMSM Sisters

Born :              2nd August 1927

Professed :       9th March 1953

Died :              25th November 2019


Sister Marie Cécile de Mijolla, in religion Sister Marie Ludovic, was born on August 5, 1927, in Puy en Velay, Haute-Loire, in a family of six children of which she is the second. Her older sister and younger sister were faithful in communicating with her until the end.

It was in Marseille that she spent her early years. Even though she received her secondary education at the school of the Sisters of St Joseph du Puy, she chose the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary to respond to the call of the Lord to be a missionary religious.

On March 9, 1953 she made her first religious profession at the novitiate of Ste Foy les Lyon. After a time of teaching in France, she was sent to the mission in Hydra, Algeria. Then on 8th November 1958 at Marseilles, she embarked on the New Caledonian for Oceania, arriving in New Caledonia on December 20, 1958. Initially at La Foa, she took care of the kindergarten and on March 9, 1959 she made her perpetual vows there.

In 1960 she went to Bourail to teach at St Joseph School. Then in 1963 she became the Principal of the Marie Reine Thabor Secondary School. In 1964 she was transferred to the mission at Tye on the East Coast but for health reasons she had to rest at Mont-Mou a few months before leaving for New Zealand to improve her English.  In 1966, she returned to Bourail for six months before returning to New Zealand to make the second novitiate. In August 1967, Sr.Marie Cecile went to France for a home visit and from there to Rome.

At the Marist Fathers Generalate in Monte Verde, under the guidance of Fr. Jean Coste SM she began her work on the history of the congregation. First she researched the letters of the pioneers which showed the basic elements of our charism: missionary, Marist and religious. This was a particularly valuable resource for the 1971 special and general chapter during which new constitutions were drafted. She then produced Our Pioneer Sisters from correspondence 1836-1885. These four volumes of extracts from letters from, to or about our Pioneers shared the origin of these themes with the whole congregation. In 1987 the fifth volume was produced.

Passionate about this work, Sister Marie Cécile documented everything with scrupulous care as seen in her book on the history of the congregation from 1845 to 1931, Origins in Oceania: Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary 1845-1931published in 1980 in French and in 1984 in English. All Sisters young and old were thrilled to have a book that clearly explained our complicated history.

In 1982-1984 she followed the courses of YPER in Lyon and then returned to New Caledonia to animate the catechetical service and the pastoral service of the diocese; later she worked at the Catholic bookshop and catechetical resource centre near the Cathedral.  She also gave lectures on the lives of our first sisters at gatherings at Mont-Mou open to all,

In 1997 she published her next book, A Woman of Lyon, Marie Françoise Perroton, (1796-1873) Missionary in Oceania. For many of us it is the discovery of what our Pioneer has been since her birth, and her relationship with Pauline Jaricot, the mother of the latter is the godmother of baptism of Marie Françoise, until her missionary life in Futuna with its joys and its trials.

In 2008 Sr. Marie Cécile in collaboration with Sr.Amelie Tufale pfm published the book, From Vendee at the end of the world: Sister Marie de la Croix, (1831-1908) Missionary in New Caledonia - a treasure for us SMSM which allowed us to enter in depth what was the life of our elder in New Caledonia as well as all the work of Mary in Oceania. We are very grateful to Sister Marie Cécile for this heritage that she leaves us and that will survive her.

Over time, Sr. Marie Cecile became increasingly deaf and, in a sense, isolated by her deafness, a great suffering for her who liked to communicate and who loved music.  She retained her wonderful sense of humour and her rebellious streak. Since 2015, she has been enjoying the house of Nazareth in Mont-Mou. This time of rest was also the time of prayer for Sr. Marie Cécile. Her daily visits to the Virgin of Mont-Mou, at the back of the property, showed how much she loved Mary. She also took the time to relax and was faithful to her crosswords and puzzles until her last days.

In May this year, her health deteriorated, and she had to be hospitalized. There she received the sacrament of the sick, with full knowledge and joy. Since her return home she had been waiting for the meeting with the Lord. She really wanted it, at all times her prayer was so simple: "Lord, come and get me". Finally, on Monday evening, 25th November 2019, after receiving communion during the Vespers service, around 5.30 p.m., she fell asleep peacefully in the Lord.

We give thanks to God for the way Sr. Marie Cécile lived so deeply her Marist, missionary religious life.