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Date of Death 17/03/2020

                           SMSM Sisters    Sister Marie Gaël, smsm

                                       14 April 1933 - 17 March 2020


            Thérèse Valdenaire, daughter of Charles Auguste VALDENAIRE and Marie Constance HUMBERTCLAUDE was born in Le Menil Thillot, in the Vosges, (France) on 14 April 1933. At the age of 23, she joined the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. At the novitiate, she received the name of S. Marie Gael and made profession on 8 September 1958.

Sister stayed in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon for her nursing studies. With her diploma in her pocket, she first practised in Saint-Victoret 1960 - 61. On 29 November 1961, she received her first mission to New Caledonia. But she first went to Algeria for two months to the clinic at Meftah.

  Sister M. Gael arrived in Nouméa 11 January 1962, to work at the Magnin Clinic. On 31 October 1964, she arrived in the New Hebrides as a nurse at the hospital on Santo. She remained there until 1978, except for 1972-73, when she had a year in France for the second novitiate and family leave.  From late 1974 to early 1976, she was in Baie-Barrier where she ran the clinic and was also superior of the community.

In May 1978, Marie Gael returned France for a family visit and medical care.  In October, she was appointed to Saint-Victoret where she cared for people in their homes. She left an unforgettable memory there. In recent weeks, her friends regularly phoned S. Michèle Bidegain to have news of her.

In October 1983, Sister had the joy of returning to Oceania. She stayed for two months at Mont-Mou before answering again the call of the New Hebrides, which became Vanuatu in 1980.  She served in the clinic at Imaki for three years, then at Fanafo in 1987.

In 1988, S. Marie Gael had a break from care of the sick for seven months: she helped at the Foyer Nabanga in Port Vila. But in September, she resumed medical service with our senior sisters in Montmartre, while at the same time serving as a regional councillor. She spent the last few months of 1989 at the novitiate in Mont-Mou, New Caledonia, where her discretion and gentleness made a lasting impression on the young sisters.

After her leave in France in 1990, she returned to serve the senior sisters in Montmartre. In 1992, she was appointed Regional Bursar. She was not too happy about this new job, but she gave it her best!

Sister Marie Gael participated in the Provincial Chapter of 1993-94, and at the same time, took the opportunity for medical treatment in Noumea.

In 1996, after her family visit, she was asked to take over the responsibility of the infirmary at 41 Rue du Signal, Ste-Foy-les-Lyon.  Our sisters in France were then blessed with her medical competence and kindness.

In September 2004, Sister was appointed to Bron where she gave community service at the Provincial House. She asked to go to Lourdes, then back to Oceania.

In 2006, she was atFaubourg Blanchot, Noumea,where she became involved in the pastoral care of the sick with Father Rougeul.  She loved that very much. The following year, she was at the community of Riviere Salee.

After her home visit in 2011, she did not return to Oceania, but remained in France. A pleasant companion, she continued small activities such as knitting.  Weather permitting, she was faithful to her daily walk.Reading gave her great pleasure and was a highlight of her day.     A woman of prayer, she was already in the chapelat 2.30pm every dayand never missed the Lourdes rosary, telecast live on French Catholic television.

She knew all about avoiding falls, but eventually she fell and broke her hip. About seven weeks ago, she had a fall and was hospitalised.  She did not recover and died peacefully on 17 March 2020.

She was a good nurse and made the most of continued professional training with different internships in maternity, paediatrics, and gerontology.

Sr. Marie Gael was loved by the sick because she was gentle, humble, thoughtful and competent. She spoke very little and smiled at her patients. She knew bichlamar well.

She could not sing very well and asked at a community meeting (with S. M. Tarcisia) that they read one of the three psalms in the office. They did, of course, and even choose to read the longest.

She was determined to go through with what she wanted. Here is a small example: S. M. José advised her not to go to the parish for Wednesday Mass in order to avoid falls. She kept going anyway and never fell on her way to church!

Marie Gael, you lived as a true Missionary, Marist, Religious, “hidden and unknown”.  We entrust you to the great mercy of God.

"Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master." (Mt 25:21)

You didn't leave at the right time, in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. Your two sisters and all your family, friends and even SMSM could not join us in saying goodbye. May the Lord accept this sacrifice and recompense all the sick and their caregivers.


SMSM of Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon