An adventure of a lifetime
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Sister Paula Marie Smith, MMM, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
As early as four years of age, Paula dreamed of being a missionary, a nurse or doctor, a sister going to faraway places. A missionary vocation was a childhood hope for her and it sustained her until it became a reality. Paula lived a full and rich life and God called her home on 25 July 2020 at 86 years of age.
Like so many during this time of pandemic, Paula had to let go of having her family, friends and her cats near her and surrender her life into God’s hands and live her final days in the care of the good staff of Fredericka Manor Care Center with Sonata Hospice support.
Paula was born in Charlestown MA on February 4, 1934 and met the MMM in 1952 at the house on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston…the first house in the USA. She met Mother Mary and remembers a conversation with her that put her mind and heart at peace. Her search had come to an end and so it was that on May 30, 1952, accompanied by her Mother, her Godmother and Grandmother, Paula entered the first American Novitiate. She made her first vows on 4 April 1955 surrounded by family and friends. That October she left for Ireland by ship and began her nursing studies and was assigned to her first mission in Nigeria where she travelled by boat in January 1960. She worked in Anua, Afikpo, returned to Ireland to study midwifery and then back to Obudu during the Biafran war. In 1970-72 she did post graduate studies in London and Birmingham, spent some time in Ethiopia and returned to USA to do graduate work in Boston and Chicago leading to a Master’s Degree in Public health.
In subsequent years with these skills and experience, Paula worked with IRC and UNHCR in Pakistan for some years and then in New York and Boston in various nursing positions, and finally to USA/Mexico border area in 1994 where she has lived and worked until her death.
She had wonderful friends and companions on her journey especially in the last decades in southern California and across the border in Tijuana. Thank you to all of you who were so good to her, to her family scattered around the USA, to her MMM family who have many wonderful memories of Paula, to her care-givers all of whom were privileged to be with her in her last days while the rest of us relied on good memories. Thank you to all whose kindness and help allowed her to stay in her home with her beloved cats. Paula had a great love for the poor, an infectious laughter, great sense of humor, and will be remembered for her irreverent and colorful language! May Paula, who loved life, rest in peace in life eternal. When it is possible after the time of this pandemic, we will have a Memorial service to celebrate her life and bury her remains with her MMM Sisters in our plot in Boston/Malden