Sr Analulu Tanuvasa sm died peacefully in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday 25th January 2015. We give thanks for the wonderful Marist woman that Ana has been. What a valiant woman – so apostolic, generous and faithful. May she enjoy the wonderful rewards of eternal life. We pray for Analulu’s family and for the Marist Sisters of the Sector of Aotearoa-New Zealand.
The following eulogy was written by Sr Gemma Wilson, Sector Leader of Aotearoa-New Zealand.
“Analulu was born in Apia, Samoa, on the 18th February 1949. She was not always a Catholic but was baptised at the age of 13 on the 17th December 1962. Her primary schooling took place at St Joan of Arc, Apia from 1955 to 1964 and her secondary at St Mary’s SMSM College in Apia from 1968-1970. In 1979 already a Marist Sister, she completed her secondary education at Marist College, Mt Albert. She also studied at Corpus Christi in Suva, Fiji, from 1989-82
Ana made her novitiate in Australia and was professed in 1977. From then on she served in several countries: New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, The Gambia and the Philippines. Ana’s ministries were wide-ranging: she worked as a Primary School teacher in New Zealand, as Chaplain to the Samoan people in Auckland; she worked in a Night Shelter and also a Woman’s refuge in Auckland and in a soup kitchen in Wellington. She was chaplain at the Davao City Jail in The Philippines. In 2008 she did a C.P.E prior to working as a hospital chaplain in Wellington.
Ana was also active in several Congregational ministries. She worked as Vocations’ Directress in New Zealand and also in The Gambia and the Philippines. She was part of the Pastoral Planning team in NZ in 2002 and was sector assistant in New Zealand from 2008 till her death at the beginning of 2015. She was formater for our candidates in Mount Albert in 1994. She was coordinator of JPIC for the New Zealand Sector from 2008 till 2012.
These resumés of Ana’s ministries do not adequately reveal just how passionate Ana was both for the poor and marginalized and for her Congregation. She worked very hard for both right up till a few weeks before her death when her disease became a handicap. She was very sad when ill health obliged her to leave the Gambia. Several years later she volunteered again for a missionary country – this time offering to go to the Philippines. Sadly after 2 years there sickness once again obliged her to withdraw. In both these missions Ana is still remembered for the love and the energy with which she worked for the poor and at the same time for the growth of her beloved Congregation.
Ana was diagnosed with lung cancer in2005. No one could have foreseen that she would live nearly 10 years more. Though diet and exercise contributed to this it was above all through her faith in God’s power to heal her that she was able to live a remarkably full life for so long. Though her health slowly deteriorated in 2013 and 2014 she continued with her ministries and her faith in God’s healing love remained as strong as ever. She was a delegate to the Asia Pacific Regional Chapter just 3 months before her death. Finally however it became clear to her and to all of us that Ana was getting worse. She was hospitalized several times. During her last days in Auckland hospital she made a conscious decision to let go and announced that she would wait until her brother Sepu, a Presbyterian minister, arrived from the USA, before dying! Her sisters, nephews and nieces and cousins were constantly with her as well as her Marist Sisters. During these 4 days Ana prepared the liturgies for the two Masses she wanted celebrated after her death. She wrote in great detail her instructions for both Masses and said several times that she wanted a “simple Marist funeral” and didn’t want anyone wearing black! On the eve of her death many of her relations gathered in her room for a Mass celebrated by her nephew Fr. Etuale from Fiji. At midnight her brother Sepulogo arrived. Ana and Sepu talked for a little while and then he said a prayer for her to which she answered AMEN quite strongly before her breathing slowed down and she surrendered to the God who had always been the centre of her life.
Ana’s send-off was exactly as she had planned it! Father Iosefa, parish priest of Papatoetoe where she had lived and worked for several years, celebrated the Vigil Mass together with several others in a packed Church. The following day her friend Father Carl Telford SM officiated at the Requiem Mass at which 12 other priests concelebrated and later at the graveside at Panmure where she was buried with the many other Marist Sisters who are buried there. Pray for us all Ana!”