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Sur Marie Erwan Gallery

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Date of Death 16/04/2019

 Sister Marie Erwan (Marie Louise GALERY)

4 May 1924-16 April, 2019


SMSM Sistersw

Marie Louise Galery was born 4 May 1924, into a Christian family to whom she was very attached, and for whom she loved to pray.   Since the death of her brother in law she was very concerned for her sister, Yvonne whom she loved dearly.    She also loved her native Brittany and was very happy when someone could speak to her in her native tongue.

In 1948, she entered the postulancy at Gemens, in Isere, where the formation house was situated because of the Second World War.  Sister Marie Erwan made her profession on 9 March 1950. She left immediately for New Hebrides (Vanuatu, since 1980), and by July she was already teaching in the school at Montmartre.

In 1959, she continued teaching on the island of Wala, then in 1961 in Port-Vila.

In 1964, after 14 years in Vanuatu, she returned to France for her first home visit.  During her time in France, she visited her family, then made her Second Novitate in Sainte Foy-lès-Lyon.

On returning to Oceania, Sister studied in New Caledonia for a qualification in teaching and catechetics. 

Back in New Hebrides in 1967, she taught at Lamap then in Port Vila from 1968-1974.

Sister returned to France for a home visit in 1974, and after her holiday, she was appointed to Sainte Foy-lès-Lyon, then to Saint-Victoret as a catechist in1975.

In 1978, she went for a time to Perros-Guirec (Britanny) to care for her mother.

From1979 to the end of 1982, she gave community service in Lyon - at Sainte-Foy and Point du Jour.

In1984, she was appointed to New Caledonia, to the novitiate at Mont Mou where her gifts as a seamstress were greatly appreciated.

From 1987 to 1990, she was in the community of Rivière Salée (Noumea), where she was local community leader, and engaged in pastoral ministry.  From there she returned to France in 1990 for a home visit.

The following year, when she returned to New Caledonia, she was appointed to Isle des Pins where she was local superior. 

In April 1997, she returned to Brittany for a home visit, then remained in France, first of all in Ste Foy-lès-Lyon, then in 2000 at La Fare les Oliviers.In 2009, she returned to Sainte Foy-lès-Lyon for health reasons.

Sr M. Erwan needed time to adapt during her missionary life, because of the many changes of place, and yet a little while ago she told us: “I have been happy in my missionary life, and I loved what I did.”She loved teaching, and her skills as a seamstress enabled her to give valued service.  When she was a teacher, she spent her holidays sewing: this she did to perfection.  At the novitiate in Mont Mou, she gave generously of these gifts, and her greatest joy was to sew the habits for profession.

Sister Marie Erwan was a missionary to the core, but she was also a fervent Marist in her simplicity, her attentiveness to persons, and the gentle teasing that others loved in her.  She spent a lot of time praying the rosary, especially in the final years of her life.

Gradually losing her independence was difficult for her.   Over the past few months, she could not stand unaided, and had to accept a wheelchair – not easy for her. She loved reading but no longer had the strength to do that. 

Over these past few weeks, she really wanted to leave this world, and said she was ready to meet her Lord whom she had served all her life.   She was bedridden for a while and lived through a time of intense suffering.  Sister Malekalita Moefana was with her she left us at 4am on Tuesday 16 April, 2019, the beginning of Holy Week.

Her funeral was held in our chapel at Sainte-Foy on Holy Thursday, 18 April:  a simple, prayerful celebration presided over by Father Jean Claude Cellier, M. Afr.  Her sister was too frail to come for the funeral, but two nephews and a niece were present.

While we are alive, we live for the Lord;

and when we die, we die for the Lord.

And so, alive or dead,

we belong to the Lord.  (Romans 14:8)


Sœur Marie José de Préville