Elderly home to celebrate 50 years

The Home of the Elderly at Mapuifagalele will soon celebrate its 50 years anniversary with the Little Sisters of the Poor expressing their appreciation for the public's continuous support.

Mapuifagalele was established on 27 June 1971 and is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious institute for women which was founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan. 

Together with a diverse network of collaborators, they have served the elderly and the poor in over 30 countries around the world.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer on Monday, the Sister-in-charge at Mapuifagalele, Sister Maria said that the process of establishing the elderly home began in 1970 when Cardinal Pio, who was a Bishop at the time, visited one of the missionaries at the elderly home in Auckland.

According to Sister Maria, Cardinal Pio had seen the work that was done there and believed that is what is needed in Samoa.

She said he started the process of requesting the Little Sisters of the Poor to come to Samoa and Sister Maria indicated that at that time the church was having a general chapter where the request was proposed.

The foundation was accepted by the General Chapter of September 1970 and preparations commenced.  

Sister Maria said that the same year Pope Paul VI visited Samoa and she later found in the home's archives records showing that Pope Paul VI was the first benefactor of the home as he gave $20,000 to help with their establishment.

Four Sisters from New Zealand, Spain, Australia and India were the first ones to begin the work of caring for the elderly at Mapuifagalele. And Sister Marguerite Marie of India continues that work to this very day.

Work has continued for an aged care facility in Savai’i with the Logoipulotu College Old Pupils Association supervising the project.

Another aged care facility is also currently being built at Vai'a'ata and will use the site of the old Logoipulotu College. It will be called the "Mapu-i-Pulotu Home for the Aged".

When asked how she feels about having another elderly home in Savai'i, Sister Maria said she is happy as the distance can be a challenge for residents living in Savai'i.

She also revealed that they have received applications from prospective residents living in American Samoa.

On 26 June this year Mapuifagalele will hold a thanksgiving mass and a small celebration to mark 50 years since its establishment.

Sister Maria said they will celebrate the day to thank God for 50 years of the home and expressed her appreciation to people for their contributions.

Mapuifagalele can take 44 residents though currently they have 35. Upon receiving applicants for residency, they visit the elderly to confirm that it is the resident's choice and not the family's.

The Little Sisters of the Poor who are currently serving at Mapuifagalele include: Sister Maria Frances Pale, Sister Maureen, Sister Marta, Sister Lucy and Sister Marguerite Marie.

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