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From Fiji Times Online (30 December 2009)

Emeli vows life of poverty

by Mary Johns

Sister Emeli Flauia Marafono, left, and Elizabeth Browne-Russell at Sister Emeli's perpetual profession ceremony at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva yesterday

IT took Emeli Marafono six years to take her third and final vow, becoming a nun and joining the order of Saint Joseph of Cluny.

Sister Emeli, 35, from Pepjei on Rotuma, stood in front of a jam-packed Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva and vowed to live a lif of obedience, chastity and poverty.

During childhood Emeli never thought she would one day become a nun.

"The aspects of the motto of St Joseph of Cluny - doing God's holy will - drove me," she said.

The death of her father Gagaj Suakma'a Sosefo Marafono was the turning point.

"When dad passed away I wasn't there (Rotuma) for his funeral.

"His passing was a turning point for me - he was a man of great faith. I decided to go back home."

Sr Emeli dedicated her vows to her father and late brother Fiu Michael Marafono.

One of her seven siblings, Petero, a school teacher on Rotuma, said the family was surprised when Sister Emeli decided to join the novitiate.

"We couldn't believe it - she was socially active and loved drinking grog with friends," he said. "We thought she'd become a policewoman or marry but we're all proud of her."

She was educated at Christ the King Primary School on Rotuma and Rotuma High School.

After completing high school, Sr Emeli took up secretarial studies in Suva and joined a company in Vatuwaqa. After her father's death, she returned to Rotuma and became the secretary of the Rotuma Parish.

Father Milikiade Raiyalu was the celebrant at yesterday's ceremony.

Sr Emeli encouraged young people to make decisions that would bring happiness and joy to their lives and others'.

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