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Malia Kapeliela Siaga (Sesilia Logalei)

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 27/10/2014

SMSM Sisters  Sister Malia Kapeliela SIAGA (Sesilia Logalei Siaga) 1936-2014 was born 22 November 1936 into a devout Christian family. When she was about twenty years old she sensed God was calling her to consecrate her life in serving others beyond her own country. She entered the SMSM Novitiate in Wallis making her First Religious Profession, 16 July 1958, at Sofala, Wallis and made her Perpetual Vows 16 July 1964.

Sister was gifted with a great ability to do sewing and was trained in New Caledonia where she put her talents to work in serving the young girls and the women. She began work at the Boarding School for girls at Côte Est at Thyé, then at Marie Reine in 1974. After that she returned to Wallis in 1975 and served at Sofala, Mua, Malaetoli, Hihifo - always with the same generous spirit, to prepare the young girls for their future tasks as mothers of families.

In 1985 Sister Kapeliela was asked to give service at the Generalate, Via Cassia, Rome for two years. In spite of the distance from her family and her country she was very happy to discover the gift of the internationality of our religious family. She discovered that MISSION has no frontiers. In 1987 she returned from Rome and was missioned to St Michel (Vanuatu) where she stayed for ten years interspersed with a short stay at the Novitiate at Mont Mou to assist with the formation of the novices. It was at St Michel that she invested herself totally for the students at the Boarding School and had a deep love for the young women under her care passing on to them her skills so that they could become independent and make their way in life. The young women full of affection and gratitude gave her the nickname "maman Kape".

In 2004 Sr Kapeliela was beset by illness - cancer, which sapped her energy. She had surgery in Port Vila and again in 2007 in Noumea, New Caledonia. She later returned to Wallis and gave service at Malaetoli and Sofala. In May 2014 the cancer was spreading and once again she went to New Caledonia for treatment. Sister was lovingly cared for by our Sisters at Nazareth Community until she eventually needed care in a Hospice. Her condition deteriorated and she received regular visits from our Sisters, her family members in Noumea and many others who were cared for or were taught by Sister.

They came to pray at her side and to thank her for so much love poured out on them by Sr Kapeliela. She died peacefully Monday 27 October 2014. Her funeral Mass was held at the Parish Church in St Louis on 29 October 2014 and the celebrant was Bishop Ghislain de Rasilly SM - Bishop of Wallis et Futuna; two young ni-Vanuatu priests and other priests concelebrated with Bishop. Bishop Ghislain in his homily highlighted the gentleness and serenity of our wonderful Marist, Missionary Religious Sister. Following the Mass, a large group of people accompanied Sr Kapeliela's casket to the cemetery where she now rests among so many of our Sisters and fellow Marists.

Sr Ida Briffod gave the eulogy at the Mass and on behalf of all the Sisters and family expressed our thanks to Sr Malia Kapeliela for her consecrated life unreservedly given to God until her death and for her strong desire to call forth vocations to religious life from among young people. May they follow her example in her life totally given to God.

(Our grateful thanks to the Sisters in Noumea, New Caledonia, Srs Euphrasie and Council for their prayerful support and accompaniment of Sr Kapeliela throughout her illness and at her death.)

Sr Colleen Williams smsm

Auckland, New Zealand