St. Rose-McCarthy Catholic School
Sr. Christina Smith

Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth

Fiji Nuns at Hanford Catholic School

First to arrive at SRM:

Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth (with their superior).

The article below was originally printed in The Fresno Bee on September 14, 1995  and describes more of the background and sacrifices made by these strong  women. 
For more than 25 years, nuns from the Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth in the archipelago of Fiji served our school and parish community with talent, love, and faithfulness.

1995 – 2021

L - R: Sr. Patrick Malani, Tonga (1995–1999), Sr. Camillus Fetui Tamatimu, Samoa (1995–1998), Sr. Mary Katie Ann, Tonga (Superior General), Sr. Leotina Ratu Fesaitu, Rotuma (1995–2009).

already accustomed to learning different cultures because back home, each of the 110 inhabited islands have very distinct cultures. 

The weather was another thing. They were accustomed to ocean views and balmy weather; in the Fiji islands, weather is about 79 degrees year-round. They were soon to learn about hot Julys and foggy Decembers.

Over the years, the original three nuns were replaced by others from their order. Sister Leotina boasted the longest American stay — 15 years. She especially remembers enjoying getting to know the school families.

Others who served included: Sister Patiola Molia, Sister Sisilia Valeca, Sister Vianney Tifare-Soln, Sister Makarita Vakadranu, Sister Christina Smith, and Sister Mereoni Qiolele.

The Fiji sisters have been a blessing to both our school and our parish. We will remain forever grateful for their ministry.

Fifi Sisters Serve Catholic School in Hanford - Fresno Bee Article

For more than 25 years, nuns from the Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth in the archipelago of Fiji served our school and parish community with talent, love, and faithfulness.

Three sisters arrived in May of 1995 at the invitation of Bishop John Steinbock and pastor Father Daniel Avila. These first sisters were Sister Leotina Ratu Fesaitu (Rotuma), Sister Carmillus Fetui Tamatimu (Samoa), and Sister Patrick Malani (Tonga). 

Father Avila purchased a home to serve as their convent; but, it was pretty empty. Numerous parishioners stepped forward to fill the home with everything they needed. Donors included the following families: Dustons, Robinsons, Wynns, Silvers, Azevedos, Maciels, and more. Even a vehicle was provided to them. 

The sisters were overwhelmed by the generosity of the parishioners.

Sister Leotina was assigned the third grade, Sister Fetui the sixth grade, and Sister Patrick visited the sick and shut-in.


The sisters had to be quick-studies on American culture. They were well-equipped for the task. Their English was excellent and they were