Families and friends of Sister Emanuela Betham gathered on Saturday evening to commemorate her 60 years of service in the order of Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM).
Sister Emanuela, 88, dedicated her life to being an educator and Sister of the order of SMSM at the age of 19 and entered the convent in 1955.
The daughter of the late Gus Victor and Sesilia Betham from Aleipata and Leone, she has served in Europe including Rome as well as the United States of America. She was also the St. Mary’s College principal in 1969.
One of Sister Emanuela’s nieces, Pauline Ott-Fepuleai, said she had always looked up to Sister Emanuela as a role model.
“I have always known that her aim and goal was to serve God, whenever I would talk to her she reminded me of God’s blessings and mercy.
“She upheld values that suited her calling.
“When I was at the age of 10, she was in Rome for seven years and then I asked my grandmother which is her mother, Sesilia Betham, ‘mama what is Sister Emanuela doing and she told me that she was a treasurer for the SMSM community in Rome’,” she said in an interview with Samoa Observer.
Pauline said her parents have been the number one supporters of Sister Emanuela, when she made the decision to serve and dedicate her life to God.
“But it was also the same case for the whole family—we gave her the support whenever she would need it.
“Blessings come from taking care of our elders, but there are only two nuns in our family and the other one was my mother’s sister, but she passed away a few years back.
“Apart from us being her family, Sister Emanuela has always had a special place in her heart for her SMSM family; she made us feel that her spiritual family is just as important as her biological family,” she added.
A representative from the order of SMSM, Sister Losalia, congratulated Sister Emanuela.
“She is a truly strong person at that age but still goes on with her work serving God.
“We are very happy with a milestone she has achieved and even though our work is not easy but we are well aware that it is all worth it in the end.
“It is all for God’s glory and praise but also helping others in finding their way to Him,” she added.
Sister Vitoria Mauu, 50, who has served for 25 years as a sister from the order of Missionary Sisters of Faith, said she admires Sister Emanuela.
“I am currently teaching alongside Sister Emanuela at Moamoa Theological College and she is teaching spirituality.
“And I really admire her, due to the long journey that she took and looking at the invitation, it said 1958. I told the other sisters that I was not even born yet when she made her vows.
“Looking at her, she is full of knowledge and inspiration not forgetting the sacrifice but she still has that kind of spirit.”