Malia Simione – reaching out to touch lives

‘I am the servant of the Lord. Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.’ I am very privileged to have worked in the Diocese of Tonga and Niue for most of the years I have been a Sister of Mercy.

Again, I am very grateful to the Sisters of Mercy for the opportunity to educate, train and prepare to meet the challenges of the years.

First, I worked in formal education, then informal education, then adult education, social work and Education for Christian Living (ECL). I trained as a counselor and a spiritual director. I was asked to work as an advisor for Catholic Women’s League (CWL) and during these years CWL started the Centre for Women and Children funded from New Zealand, the Legal Literacy Project funded by Britain and the Tongan Craft Centre funded by Australia.

With all the experiences I had, I was then urged, encouraged and challenged to move on to family needs, adult education, human rights – especially women’s and children’s rights; and to stop violence against women and children. I have moved on to Parish pastoral work and Education for Christian Living from kindergarten to secondary school level.

Catholic Women’s League: At Parish level, encouraging and working with mothers to develop the standard of living, both materially and spiritually, of families. We pray together as a group and visit and pray with the old and sick at home. We have inspection of homes’ cleanliness and raise awareness of family health. We encourage people to beautify and to care for the environment and we raise awareness of climate change. We visit the sick and old sisters and we pray and have games or other entertainment.

Education for Christain Living: There is Sunday School, one hour every Friday and preparation for the Sacraments of Confession, First Communion and Confirmation; also teaching Catholic and Christian Doctrine with hope and trust they will be living witnesses to God in our world.

Trauma Counselling: With my experience as a counselor and spiritual director I was called to join a Diocesan Team sponsored by Caritas Tonga to train a group of women and men from parishes and outer islands. The team was very helpful to the families of those who were lost when the ship Asika sunk and also those affected by the tsunami at Niua Toputapu. I continue counseling through visits and seeing clients in the Eastern area.

New Life: Monika and I are following the New Life Programme. There are young women who are interested and we follow the Discernment Programme. Also, we go to groups of youth and schools (seniors) and talk about Mercy Vocations.

I reflect and am always aware on how privileged I am to be able to reach out and touch others’ lives, so delicate and beautiful. Together with Mary, Mother of Mercy; to visit, to meet people and to be a carrier of the “womb love” of God. I go out to the people with little and come back being enriched and with so much.