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Sister Malia Lafaele Musulamu (Malia Vaiomanu Musulamu)

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 05/07/2023

Sister Malia Lafaele Musulamu, Malia Vaiomanu, was born into a deeply Christian family on 30 November 1940 at Alo, Futuna, and was baptised that same day. She was the eldest of four children and the sister of Antonin, who died last year, and who was the mainstay of the gatherings for young people at Tene.  Sr Lafaele spent all of her childhood between Kolopélu, the mission her village belonged to, and Poï where St Peter Chanel died. After a few years at Sofala, Wallis getting to know about religious life, she decided when she was 21, to give her life to God. So, she entered the postulancy, which was followed by the novitiate at Mont-Mou. She made First Profession on 8 September 1964.

She continued her personal training for two years, with time spent between classes on housekeeping and on caring for the sick. That’s how Sr Malia Lafaele was able to assist the nurse, first on Ouvea and then at the Paita dispensary. She discovered her vocation in contact with sick people; concern for the sick was to fill her whole life. In 1970, she benefited from a year of nursing training in Noumea, after which she was sent to work in the dispensary at Pouébo. There she experienced difficulties of communication and distance.  On 8 September 1972, she pronounced her perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary.

In 1976, she had the opportunity to spend a year of study at the South Pacific Commission in Fiji.  This was also an opening to another world, another language. Malia Lafaele’s time in Suva left a lasting impression on her; having an open mind she was able to adapt to any new situation. From 1977 to 1980 she served the sick people of Wallis at the Mua dispensary, interrupted by the time of Second Novitiate in Rome in 1979. Then it was the dispensary on L'ile des Pins (New Caledonia) that would welcome her for 6 years. She was happy to give her all at the service of the people of that island.

In 1988, at the time of the events that are well known, she was sent to Ouvéa. At the dispensary, she experienced emergencies, caring for the wounded, but also fear. Being courageous, she placed her trust in the Lord, as she did throughout her life. Her confidence in God was the source of her serenity, her peace.

After that, Sr Malia Lafaele found herself back at the Mua Dispensary on Wallis for 6 years. Despite her deteriorating, she was happy to be at the service of her compatriots. In 1994, she underwent hip replacement surgery in Noumea. After a time of rest at Rivière Salée, she continued her work as a nurse on Wallis at the Hihifo dispensary until 1999, when she retired from nursing. For her, retirement meant a change of activities: she worked in the kitchen at Sofala, then in the community at Poi, where she continued to render service, and to welcome the pilgrims who came to the place where St. Peter Chanel was martyred.  She also devoted herself to her favourite hobby, making local crafts which she excelled at with her nimble fingers.

In 2005 Malia Lafaele returned to the hospital in Noumea for knee-replacement surgery. Rehabilitation helped her recover, and then she was back in Wallis, among the elderly sisters as their community leader. Always available, she never ceased being of service on Wallis and Futuna. She was a solid base in the community, keeping the Marist spirit alive wherever she went. She didn’t say much, but was truly present to everything that was happening around her.

Her health took its toll.  She was urgently sent to Sydney in 2020 for coronary bypass surgery. Upon her return from Australia, she underwent a time of quarantine, due to Covid, before joining the Cana community at Rivière Salée. Then she was welcomed into the Nazareth community in 2020. At that time, she also decided to ask for a transfer to the Region of Asia-Pacific in order to continue her medical treatment, as she felt well cared for by the doctors in New Caledonia.

Her stay at Nazareth was divided between times of prayer and craft work. How many shell and seed necklaces she made with such patience and love, simply for the pleasure of offering them to someone. Always smiling, she remained discreet in the community, despite her strong character. She never complained, accepting her sufferings in silence. The Lord came to fetch her on 5 July 2023. May she rest in peace with Jesus and Mary.

"Being close to God, she [Mary] can obtain for us by her prayer the grace of joy and fidelity". (Const. n° 54)


Thank you, Malia Lafaele, for what you have been, following Mary’s example.


Sr. Marie Ida smsm