2022-10-01 SAMOA

More than 150 years of Marist presence in Samoa

Samoa is an island country in Oceania and is part of the District of the Pacific. From December 8th, it will become part of the new Province Star of the Sea. The Marist Brothers arrived there more than 150 years ago, in 1871. Currently there are two communities of Brothers in Samoa. One at the primary school, in Mulivai and one at St Joseph’s College, the secondary school in Alafua.

Br. Siaosi Ioane is Principal and Community Leader at Mulivai and lives there with Br. Anitelea. This community is also the pre-Novitiate formation house, and a Postulant, Robert, is in residence currently. On the other hand, Br. Afa Afaese is Principal at Alafua and resides there with Br. Sefo Une, Community Leader, and Br. Iulio Suaesi, who is now retired.

Marist Ministries and Schools

The first school in what is now the Marist Brothers District of the Pacific was, in fact, opened in Samoa when two Brothers arrived in Apia on 14 April 1871 to open a school at Saleufi on 1 May that year.

The conditions endured by these Brothers led them to withdraw from Samoa in 1877 and the school closed. However, a new community arrived on 18 August 1888 and the school was re-opened near the church at Mulivai, Apia, on 4 September, but confined to Europeans. In 1890 one of the original Brothers returned to Samoa and was put in charge of a school for Samoans built on the Brothers’ land near the European school.

During 1947 discussions were held by the government about establishing secondary schooling in Apia and the Brothers began planning their own secondary school and raising funds for it. In February 1950 a suitable building was erected, and St Joseph’s High School was blessed and officially opened on 25 November.

This high school was renamed St Joseph’s College on its transfer to Lotopa at the beginning of 1960. The College was transferred to its present site at Alafua in 1988.

 Formation

Annual staff formation programmes are delivered to staff of the two marist schools during the orientation week at the beginning of the year. The hope is to produce a local formation programme to incorporate all members of the wider Champagnat Marist family in the near future.

It is worthwhile to mention that the Current Leader of the District of the Pacific, Br John Hazelman, is Samoan and based in Auckland. Another Samoan, Br Steve Vaea, is currently in the Philippines undertaking post-Novitiate University studies.

See pictures

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