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Catherine Saragueta

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 07/09/2010

Sister Catherine Saragueta's (Sr Marie de la Présentation) life spanned a century.

On Tuesday 7 September 2010, she left this world to enter into eternal joy.

Who was Sr Catherine?

Born on January 19th 1910 into a farming family near Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the Basque region, she was the youngest in a family of 8 children. She went to work when she was very young.

In November 1931, she responded to the call of the Lord, entering the postulate of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. She experienced the great event of the Congregation: approval by Rome, the appointment of the first Superior General, the publishing of the first Constitutions. By her profession on September 8th 1934 she became Sr Marie de la Presentation. Two months later she embarked for Oceania and was assigned to Futuna for the mission at Kolopelu following the footsteps of Françoise Perroton. She taught the children, and worked with the youth of the country and their families.

After 15 years on the island of Futuna, in 1950 she was sent to Wallis. For several years she was the Regional Superior, novice directress, then the ‘econome’ at Sofala.

During the Second World War, she experienced great poverty and isolation. “The young sisters”, she used to say, “had to have courage and enthusiasm in the service of the Lord. With fidelity to prayer, the Lord was always there to help us.” In Wallis also she worked with groups of young people and women. After 38 years in the Oceanian islands she left Wallis for a second holiday in France.

On her return to Oceania, in 1972 she was sent to New Caledonia, and a new page of her missionary life began. She was sent to the boarding school at Bourail. In 1974 she was at the regional house in Noumea to provide hospitality and other services. She spent 7 years at Païta as house manager and doing parish catechesis then 6 years at Koné during which she prepared adults for baptism and she founded the “Fraternité Mariste”.

In 1994 she helped at Mont Mou for hospitality and in the sacristy. From 1996 to 1998 she had another mission experience at Thio. En 1998, she was 88, and she retired to the community of Notre Dame du Repos at St Louis. But there she continued to work with women through the Caritas organization.
An active missionary, Sr Catherine knew how to give advice, and always gave her opinions at SMSM meetings and was present at the Assemblies until the age of 100.

In 2005 the community at St. Louis was transferred to Rivière Salée at Nazareth, but Sr Catherine became part of the parish community. Little by little her interest turned towards contemplative prayer, nourished by the news she heard from the radio, television and brought to her by visitors.

This was her long Missionary, Marist and Religious journey. In January 2010 we celebrated her 100th birthday with all the parishioners of Rivière Salée. On August 19th Sr Catherine was among a group of Basque singers and musicians who gave a concert in her honor at La place des Cocotiers in Noumea.

Sr Catherine was concerned about vocations. Now she is close to the One who calls young people to His service. Sr Catherine this is your new Mission!

Sr M. Venance GEBELIN