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Malia Maletina LAFAELE

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 15/08/2007

29 April 1915 – 15 August 2007

Sr Malia Maletina (Malia Matalena Lafaele) was born at Moamoa, Western Samoa. Her parents were catechists. There is no doubt that she was brought up steeped in her Catholic faith and grounded in her Samoan culture. As a child she was sent to boarding school with our sisters and Sister Mary Hernin was her English teacher!

Sr Malia Maletina was professed at Moamoa on 12 September, 1938. Her first mission assignment was to Falealupo where she taught and looked after the boarders. Her life as a missionary, marist and religious was lived at various times both in Samoa and New Zealand. She taught school, cooked, studied and cared for boarders in most of our mission stations in Samoa. She was also appointed to leadership roles in the Region. In 1976 she came to New Zealand and assisted at the Samoan chaplaincy in Auckland. This involved Sunday school teaching and pastoral visitation to families. Over the years in New Zealand Maletina was to have involvement with this ministry both in Auckland and in Rotorua.

All her life she had a deep dedication to the congregation. In her eulogy, Sr Susana Vito shared these observations: Every booklet that came or letters from the congregation were read and reflected upon by Maletina. Our new congregational prayer book that came out last year and our preparation material for our chapters – the pages are well thumbed and all falling out. Her constitutions are the same, both in English and Samoan. She used them so much, for prayer and reflection. They are tatty. She lived every word off every page. Her room was full of holy pictures and various devotions to Mary, bottles of holy water from different shrines and many rosary beads.

Sr Malia Maletina always encouraged young sisters to go out on mission beyond their home country and province. She was well known for knitting woollen hats with pom poms and matching scarves for those being missioned to cooler climates! Her prayerful support always accompanied these sisters.

She had a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious giggle. She responded to each and every letter or card that she ever received. Her respect for others helped her to always acknowledge - or make sure others did – any kindness, gift or donation to the sisters.

Her sense of right and wrong, just and unjust was finely tuned and she was not afraid to point out when people were not living Christian values!

Sr Malia Maletina also had a great knowledge of family connections and genealogy. Her family members went to her for information on their extended relations. She knew some of the early sisters belonging to Our Lady of Oceania, the Congregation founded by Sr Marie de la Miséricorde in Samoa in the 1870s and would tell stories about them from what she remembered. She was one of our last links with these sisters.

She knew the history of all our mission stations and enjoyed sharing her knowledge with others.

She said her childhood and early adulthood were formed by our sisters and the Marist Fathers. These influences, along with her innate sense of self worth and deep faith made her the reflective, loving and deeply spiritual wisdom figure that she was to all of us.

Sr Malia Maletina passed peacefully into eternal happiness on the Feast of the Assumption.

May she rest in peace.

Elizabeth Anne smsm
Provincial Councillor