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Jeanne Valiquet

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 03/11/2010

Sister Jeanne Valiquet
November 27th 1913 – November 3rd, 2010

Sister Jeanne Valiquet was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to Olivine Robert and Raoul Valiquet, who had emigrated from Canada. She was one of six children in a strong Catholic family. She entered the postulancy of the Marist Missionary Sisters in October, 1931 and made her first vows on September 8th 1934. A month later she embarked for Tonga aboard the Mariposa, arriving at Ma’ufanga in November.

At the age of 21, Sr Jeanne was full of life and enthusiasm as she began to learn the Tongan language and grew to love the Tongan people. As a novice, she had been given the name “Sr Mary Flavien”, but that did not flow so well in the Tongan language and she soon began to be called “Sr Malia Flaviana”.

Sisters who knew her years ago in Tonga say that she was totally dedicated to the welfare of the Tongan people, serving, as many sisters did in those days, not just as a teacher or a nurse, but as both – and more… an organizer, a fund-raiser, a counselor and consoler, and at times a foster mother for the children in the boarding schools. She was artistic and musical – and to the end of her days loved to sing Tongan songs and hymns – and even to dance from her wheelchair! The Tongans reciprocated her love and, we are told that there was even a popular song, “Lose’o Holioke”. “The Rose of Holyoke” - the town in Massachusetts where Sr Jeanne was born!

During her first 22 years in Tonga, Sr Jeanne served, often as the local superior, in Vavau, Houma and Mua. She returned to the USA for the first time in July 1956 to take part in the “Second Novitiate” in Framingham. Afterwards she was sent for further studies in Canada for two years and received a certificate in Home Science.

She returned to Tonga and continued teaching at Maufanga and Mua. Ten years later she had another home visit and later studied Community Development and Credit Unions at Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Sr Jeanne left Tonga for the last time and transferred to the North American Province in 1977. Leaving was very difficult. She felt “the time had come”, but it was very painful as she loved Tonga and the Tongans.

Still a very resilient, joyful and enthusiastic woman, Sr Jeanne launched herself into the Activities Department at Maristhill Nursing Home in Waltham. There she used her gifts in art and craftwork for occupational therapy with the residents. She served there for 12 years before “retiring” in 1989. She then served as the sacristan at “62”Newton St for several years.

In 1994 Sr Jeanne was thrilled to be invited by some of her former students from Tonga to celebrate her diamond jubilee with them in California. She traveled to California again in 1998, spending some months with Sr Sofia in Menlo Park.

Gradually her health deteriorated and towards the end of 2003 she was admitted to Maristhill as a resident. One of the blessings of her last years has been that there were several Tongan SMSM here who were able to speak with her in the language she loved and sing with her the Tonga hymns and songs and bring Tongan visitors to see her.

She was “near death” many times in recent years, but it often seemed that Tongan music would revive her. In the end, her departure came very suddenly. Just as she was getting washed to begin her day at 7:15am on November 3rd, she breathed her last. All of her siblings had gone before her, but several nieces and nephews and their families joined us for the celebration of Jeanne’s life, “joyfully given to God, for the Kingdom, in the spirit of Mary.” (C 23)

May she continue her joyful singing and dancing before the Lord at the heavenly banquet!

Sr Virginia Fornasa smsm
Assistant Provincial