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Marie Hélène Presutti

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 19/03/2010

Sr M. ELENA PRESUTTI
1926-2010
“ I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me will never die” (Jn. 11: 25)

Sr Elena (Annina Presutti) was born at Pratola Peligna (in Aquila, Italy) on January 2nd 1926.
She entered the postulate of the SMSM at Bedizzole – in Italy – in September 1946, and in 1947 she left for the novitiate in France, where she made her first profession on September 8th 1949.
On May 28th 1950 she was sent on mission to the New Hebrides -now Vanuatu (in Oceania).

Apart from brief periods in Italy for holidays or for ongoing formation, Sr Elena spent 47 years in this mission, especially as a teacher in primary schools.
She had the chance to develop a great knowledge of many of the islands of Vanuatu and their people since she was sent to many communities, according to the needs of the time.
She very much loved to go into the villages and meet the people in their own concrete situation. That helps us to understand her availability and her deep sense of giving simple and joyful service.
She was an open and practical person who knew how to defuse even very complicated situations with her great sense of humor.

In 1997 Sr Elena asked to stay in Italy, at Pratola Peligna, to care for her sister Michelina, who had fallen ill and was all alone. The health of her sister was stabilized, but meanwhile that of Sr Elena deteriorated greatly. Therefore in September 2009 we brought her back to the community at Brescia because she needed care.

Her simple faith, “founded on rock” accompanied her in the many different circumstances of her life and showed itself even in the serenity of her separation from Michelina. They said good-by to each other and promised to meet again in paradise. Her sister died in January 2010 at the age of 93.

During the 12 years that she spent with her sister, Sr Elena continued to be a missionary in her parish. To the extent that her health permitted she participated in the parish mission group that is dedicated to prayer and support of the missions. She happily shared her experience in Oceania with many people who came to visit the two sisters at their home. In her simple and child-like manner (as remarked by many who came to the funeral or have written to us recently), she knew how to spread an atmosphere of serenity around her.

During the several months that she spent in community she once again gave proof of her courage, serenity and force of will, as she struggled to regain a little strength, but she succumbed to her illness, though conscious of her situation.

A month ago Sr Elena was hospitalized in Brescia, as we were no longer able to care for her at home. She passed away at 5:40pm on March 19th the feast of St Joseph whom we have so often invoked as the patron of the dying. In the hospital ward the Sisters and the nurses who cared for her were edified by her serenity and acceptance of her illness.

Here is the testimony of Sr Anita Vira, our sister, originally from Vanuatu and now missioned in Senegal:
“In the name of my compatriots, in the name of the people of my parish and especially of my island, whom Sr Elena always served and loved, I want to thank her province of origin, her family, her diocese and her parish for all that she has done for our missions. Wherever she has been, she always spread joy with her humor and simplicity.
Before her mortal remains, please say this word from us: RENSAMI (“Goodbye” in our language, which she knew well), thank you, Sr Elena.”

With Sr Elena, let us renew our faith in the Risen Christ, and the hope of living forever with Him.
We ask Mary, our mother, the SMSM, the people of Vanuatu and her sister Michelina who have gone before us to paradise, to welcome her and to accompany her to the Lord, for the feast without end.

S. M. Sebastiana Peli smsm, Brescia