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Malia Noela BOURNE

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 07/03/2009

SMSm Sisters“… Well done, good and trustworthy servant; …. enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25).

Sister Malia Noela entered into the joy of her God on Saturday, 7 March 2009 at about 12.30 pm at Moata Marista Rest Home, Vailoa, Samoa.

Sister Malia Noela (Luisa Kelu Bourne) was born at Togafuafua, Apia (Samoa) on 11 August 1930. She and a younger brother were brought up by some relations at Safotulafai in Savaii. As a young woman she lived with the sisters at Safotulafai and later in Moamoa where she entered and made first profession as a Missionary Sister of the Society of Mary on 2 February 1955 at Moamoa. She made final vows on 2 February 1961 at Leone, Tutila, American Samoa.

Before 1975 Sister Malia Noela taught the little children at various stations in Samoa. In 1975 she did the Home Economics course at the South Pacific Commission in Suva, Fiji, where she learned sewing, simple cooking, budgeting and household care, especially for Pacific island women. She then used her knowledge and experiences from Samoa and from Suva to teach home economics in school and especially with the women among whom she worked. She was honest, hard working, kind and dedicated to her mission apostolate. She was a woman of few words and a woman of prayer.

From the 1980s Sister Malia Noela began developing rheumatoid arthritis in her limbs, hands and feet. It really started to cripple her. She only stopped driving her old pickup truck when the pain was too much and when the crippling and distortion of her hands became an accident risk. When she could no longer drive she continued to work at Savalalo from a wheelchair which enabled her to move around. She cared for the kitchen and dining room with the help of two women workers.

In November 2002 Sister Malia Noela had a severe stroke that caused the loss of all movement as well as her speech. For over six years Malia Noela struggled with her motionless body and her inability to speak. Her strong heart and will, combined with facial movements helped her to communicate.

Malia Noela was a stubborn, determined, strong willed and courageous woman. There were no short-cuts in the sacrifice of her life to her Lord. Perhaps the “letting go” came much later, but she gave her all – her struggle, the pain, the deformity, hurt, frustration and anger at not being able to communicate. Yet, she and those around her, encouraged by her determination and struggle, found others ways of communicating which endeared her to all. Malia Noela taught us about patience and how to remain faithful through suffering and silent prayer. She always had her rosary beads interlaced around the fingers of her good left hand.

Even though Malia Noela lived a hidden and unknown life for over six years at Vailoa, she did much through her prayerful silent suffering, compassion and courage for all of us who were privileged to know her before or during her illness. Somehow she was always there when we needed someone to talk to. This was another very important part of Malia Noela’s mission from her sickbed.

Malia Noela, please whisper a prayer to Jesus and Mary for more generous young women to help us in our SMSM mission.

“ … each sister contributes not so much by what she does but by gradually becoming the person she is called to be: joyfully given to God for the Kingdom in the spirit of Mary” (Constitutions 23).

Sr M. Emanuela Betham smsm
Samoa Sector Coordinator