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Sister Marie Vincenza di Benedetto

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 15/01/2024

  Born:                          10 July 1924

  First Profession:        8 September 1949

  Died:                           10 January 2024


Concettina di Benedetto was born on 10 July 1924 at PratolaPeligna, Aquila, Italy. Her parents, Simone and Vincenzo di Benedetto, were farmers. Her father had worked in America for several years, then he returned to Pratola to buy land, build their houses and support his family with what he had planted. All his daughters received an education! At that time, they had all they needed to live on!

Concettina, the third of four daughters, set out for France against the advice of her parents. Her niece Maria Pina, the daughter of her youngest sister, explained that she wanted to be a missionary because she heard a Marist Father speak about his missionary experience working with the poor and the sick! She entered the postulancy in October 1946 and the novitiate in 1947, receiving the name Sister Marie Vincenza.

She made first profession at Estrablin, France on 08 September 1949. In December 1950 she was sent for life to the New Hebrides where she arrived in 1951 to take care of the nursery and the sewing at Montmartre. She made her perpetual profession on 8 September 1955 at PortSandwich, (Lamap) Mallicolo.

After doing several nursing courses, she finally became a nurse! She also learned how to analyse and read data from malaria slides. She made her Second Novitiate in France between 1966 and 1967.

Sister Marie Vincenza always remained in touch with her sisters, nephews and nieces, telling them about her experiences with enthusiasm and joy; Maria Pina said that she also encouraged them in their daily lives. 

From the end of 1950 onwards, she remained in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), apart from several times when during her holidays, she remained in Italy for a longer period of time; so, she really was on the soil of Vanuatu for about 70 years! During her early years of mission, she spent most of her time in the mission at Baie Barrier on the south of Pentecost (the most difficult mission to access by boat). She was greatly appreciated by the people of Baie Barrier, Baie Martelli, Bunlap, the adjoining villages and also the other missions to which she was sent, such as Olal (Ambrym), Lamap, Santo and Tanna! 

Constantly she travelled on foot along the paths (slopes, hills and creeks) in order to sew, heal, spread the Good News and teach the families hygiene! The walk would take four to five hours! Wherever she went she served the people with dedication and joy. The people of Baie Barrier regarded her as their mother, and when they learnt of her death they cried and went into mourning. The people of Ambrym also shed tears! 

Sister Marie Vincenza was someone who was always accepting of people of all faiths; she had direct contact with both Christians and people who had heard the Good News, but were indifferent to it or wished to live according to their customs.

Ever ready to be of service, to be on mission, Sr Marie Vincenza, even in her 70s and early 80s, continued to contribute her talents where she was needed: Foyer Nabaga in Port Vila, health care for the boarders at Montmartre, readiness to be a community member in Vao, Fanafo or Tanna.

Since 2009 Sister has been at Paray (Port Vila), where she helped out in the community; she made candles, took care of the chapel and spent a lot of time there praying for the congregation, the universal church, families…

In December 2019 she broke her hip, but despite the impossibility of having an operation, she recovered and used her wheelchair as a walker in order to be able to walk to the chapel, the dining room etc. The community anticipated her 100th birthday with a celebration in July 2023, thinking that she would be able to appreciate this special event, in spite of her poor vision and hearing loss!

Her health began to deteriorate in December 2023. She could not go to the chapel anymore. She was fully conscious as she received the last Sacraments and renewed her vows once more. Then, little by little her strength diminished each day until 10 January when the Lord came to peacefully fetch her!

What a truly full life you had, Sister Marie Vincenza! Thank you for all that you have been and done for our country, the congregation and the Church in Vanuatu! 

Enter into the joy of the Lord, whom you loved and served. May Mary accompany you there! Farewell, Sister Marie Vincenza, do not forget us!


Their joys :

to know that, in spite of their unworthiness, they were chosen by God, “called to the honour of working to extend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and to make Mary known…” 

SMSM Constitutions, Prologue 


Sisters Maria Beatrice Loda and Anita Vira smsm