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Sur Maria Ivola Gizzarelli

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 01/01/2018

Sister Maria Ivola GIZZARELLI  smsm (Weiss Agata GIZZARELLI)

4 February 1924 – 1 January 2018

SMSM SistersSister Maria Ivola was born 24 February 1924, at Pescara – Italy; of GIZZARELLI Gaetano and ROSATI Maria Ivola. Her mother died when she was quite young.

Aged 18, she entered the novitiate of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, France on 8 September 1952 and made her first vows on 8 September 1954.

 On 8 September 1960, she made her final vows in New Caledonia, her first mission appointment from 5 November 1956. From 1956 – 1962, she worked as a nurse at the Mangin Clinic.

From 1962 – 1965, she was appointed to the dispensary at Nathalo, New Caledonia, then returned to the Clinic until 1967. From 1967 - 1970 she worked at the hospital at Mata-Utu, on the Island of Wallis.

Back in Noumea, she travelled to Australia to accompany Sr M. Jean Baptiste who was ill.

In October 1970, she returned to Italy, and in 1971 took part in the Second Novitiate which was held in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, France.

From 1972-1974, she was appointed formator of a large group of young sisters in Italy, whom she helped with great generosity.

In March 1975, she returned to the Mangin Clinic in Noumea, then filled in for nurses who were on holiday.  Thus she was able to go to the dispensary on Futuna for several months. At the end of 1975, she returned to New Caledonia.

From 1977 – 1988, she continued her nursing service at the Ducos leprosy hospital, where she was greatly appreciated, both for her work and for the contact she established with the patients.  Later, she joined the hospital chaplaincy in Noumea.

On 13 November 1990, Sr Malia Ivola returned definitively to Italy, where she was first appointed to Bari, 1990-1996, a community formed for mission awareness.  There she left a legacy of her great capacity for hospitality for all.  At this time in her life she was also able to help her family, especially her brother who was very ill.

Sister knew how to share her enthusiastic missionary spirit in her own country, decrying the situations of injustice she saw, and helping others to reflect on them.

From 1996-2000, Sister Maria Ivola was in the community of Casa Immacolata, Brescia. She needed a pacemaker for her heart which continued to beat fervently for mission.

So on 16 October 2000, she set out for the mission at Alfonsine, in the province of Ravenna, Italy. For 10 years she was involved in various apostolic services in the parish in collaboration with the Marist Fathers. In Alfonsine, as in Oceania, Sister Maria Ivola was loved by all for her kindness and her capacity for generous service.

In 2010, she returned to the community of Casa Immacolata for health reasons. Towards the end of her life, she was with the “Ancelle della Carita” (Sisters of Charity), who were able to provide the medical care she needed. We are deeply grateful for this incredible charity specific to their charism.

On 1 January 2018, Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Mary came to call her.  Sr Maria Ivola was 92 years of age. 

In a spirit of thanksgiving, we would like to share these qualities of Sr Maria Ivola, which our sisters have mentioned:  

The sisters who knew her when she was nursing recall her capacity for love and sympathy towards all those helped, especially those with leprosy, newborn babies and their family.  Both her personality and the formation she received, first of all in the heart of her own family and then all through her life as an smsm, enabled her to be friendly and open to all without exception. Those who met her could see Sr Maria Ivola as a “universal sister”, attentive to the needs, whether spiritual, material or moral, of all who came in contact with her, no matter where in the world, but especially in Oceania.

When she welcomed a newborn baby in her arms, Sister was full of joy, and sometimes sang a song of praise spontaneously at the top of her voice.  Sister was especially attentive to those who had little chance of surviving childbirth, ready to administer the sacrament of Baptism.  In her apostolic zeal, she accompanied many in this way to their last breath.  Sister, herself, was an orphan at an early age, and undoubtedly, this formed in her a deep attachment to the Blessed Virgin, to whom she prayed faithfully for the sick.  She confided to the Mother of God all those she met in the course of her apostolic services.

A sister of great faith, she knew in the depths of her being the longing to be faithful to the “gracious choice” at the origin of her vocation, wanting to be a true SMSM to the end. This was the dream she had for herself, and also for younger sisters: an smsm life without conditions attached, lived fully in the manner of Mary.

Sister nourished her spiritual life with the Word of God, and spent long hours in the afternoon, in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.


Sister Marie Kampororo, in collaboration with Sisters Teresa Loda and Luciana Ransenigo

Brescia, January 2018