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Sur Maria Leonarda PIGA

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 12/03/2022

        Born: 26 October 1922

        Professed: 6 April 1959

        Deceased: 12 March 2022

Dear Sister Maria Leonarda,

This time, the Lord passed quickly, like the Beloved in the Song of Songs. He said to you: "Get up, let's go, my friend, my beautiful, come quickly!" So quickly that we, your community and your family, didn't even have time to say goodbye. Honestly, we had already started to consider the idea of organizing a beautiful party for your 100th birthday, on 26 October. But no, the Lord did not wait. He passed quickly and took you with Him. Even though it's difficult for us, that is all right. You knew how to wait for Him, with patience and love. You deserve to celebrate your 100th birthday with Him.  

You were born on October 26, 1922 in Villa Nuova – Monteleone (Sassari) in Sardinia – Italy, eldest daughter of Leonardo PIGA and Mariantonia DIEZ.

From an early age, you wanted to be a missionary sister, but you had to wait!  

Your mother died suddenly, giving birth to a little girl who lived for only eight days.  She was in your arms when the Lord came to get her!  At 14, you had to take the place of your mother, because you had two little brothers: Salvatore and Giacomo aged 12 and 10, and a little 8-year-old sister, Maria Pasqua. You become like a mother to them.  You were only 22, when Papa died too. These were the war years, difficult times, but together you were able to stand firm and united.

You took very good care of your little brothers and sisters, and of the house, but you also thought about learning things that might be useful one day in mission, because you always wanted to be a missionary. You learnt to sew and embroider with the sisters of your parish and you trained as a psychiatric nurse.  It was in the hospital itself that you found a pamphlet telling about the missions of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, and giving their address. You did not lose heart this time either and you found a priest in the hospital where you worked, who helped you to join the Postulate in Bedizzole – Brescia, on December 24, 1955.

Your family no longer needed you, even Maria Pasqua was married and already had two children.  You could then undertake the "great journey" to the Missions.  Leaving Sardinia to go to Brescia was not easy at that time!  At a time when girls entered the convent at a very young age, you began your Novitiate in Urago Mella, Brescia, at the age of 35. You were already a woman with experience of service to the sick.  

Sister Maria Gian Paola still remembers the moment she opened the door to the Postulate to you. Two and a half years later, on April 6, 1959, you made your first vows with five companions, the first SMSM group to make Profession in Italy, at Casa Immacolata.  To prepare for the mission in Oceania, you had to do studies to obtain a diploma of professional nursing in Brescia.    

Finally, on November 29, 1961, you set out for New Hebrides (Vanuatu, since 1980) and on January 10, 1962, you arrived at Santo Island where you worked in the hospital for ten years as a nurse. You later served in Port Vila and Lamap. 

On April 6, 1965, you made your perpetual profession in the New Hebrides.

In 1973, you went to France for the Second Novitiate, then you took French courses at the Catholic University of Lyon and followed a maternity training in Bourgoin-Jallieu, in Isère, then a course in tropical diseases in Antwerp. You returned to Oceania, but this time you were sent to New Caledonia. This opened another beautiful page in your story. On March 23, 1975, you arrived in St Louis. Then Ouvéa, the Isle of Pines, Païta, La Foa and finally Bourail.

S.  Carla, who lived with you at Mont Mou, tells us that "your visits to the sick made them very happy, and that you were very friendly with them”.  

Today we would say that you really knew how to serve on the peripheries, in small dispensaries with few resources, always paying special attention to the most fragile who, in this context, were children and the elderly. With generosity and availability, you also agreed to serve the Elderly Sisters St Louis. When you returned to Brescia on March 15, 1999, you continued to render community services as your health permitted, with the serenity and contagious humor that characterized you.   

Dear Sister Maria Leonarda, we want to say THANK YOU for your fidelity to prayer, to community life, despite a certain loss of hearing and vision.  With your rosary in your hand, you prayed for everyone, telling us that this was your mission.

THANK YOU especially for the sister you have been for us, and also for your family, kind, smiling, dynamic. It was to say THANK YOU that your sister Maria Pasqua, 93 years old, and her six children came from your native island. Not to mention the many messages we have received. THANK YOU for your authentic Marist witness to a life "joyfully given to God, for the Kingdom, in the Spirit of Mary" (cf. Constitutions No. 23).    

Now that you are with the Lord, ask for peace for the world, and the blessing of vocations to the SMSM who will continue to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world.With our affection and gratitude,


Your Sisters of Casa Immacolata - Brescia