With a mixture of humour, humility and humanity, we know Maurice as a man who lived his dream. His life expressions help explain his powerful persona. Maurice’s commitment to his faith is what made him an effective figure.
In West Melbourne in the 1950s, there was a large Catholic population of Maltese and Italian immigrants. It was into this setting that three Members including Maurice Mifsud, arrived having left Malta on 17 March 1956. There were activities of the Preca Community in Melbourne before 1956, but this was the official group sent by St George Preca.
Their contact with the Parish Priest, Archbishop Justin Simonds was most cordial. The Members attended liturgical functions in the Church, assisted in the parish and even painted Archbishop Simond’s room when he attended the Vatican Council in 1962.
The Members had to find employment, fit in with the Australian psyche and were often misunderstood for the particular way they expressed the faith. Maurice was elected to lead the group who were soon joined by three others – he was determined that we would make an impact in Australia and did everything in his power throughout his life to make this happen.
The meetings soon began and were conducted in Maltese until 1957 when it was changed to English. Maurice recalls many humorous events with the use of English, which for most Members in the early days was a second language. Maurice says that most of these must go unpublished!
In 1961, Maurice introduced us to Tasmania – he loved the state, its people and its even-paced life. He was our Regional Superior for over twenty-five years, having to face many difficult situations, but had complete trust in God. During his life, he had many pearls of wisdom which he was only too eager to share, but the one that always stayed with us, is that “anything built on injustice would not survive”.
Maurice was incorporated in 1944 and the address on his day of Incorporation and that of all Incorporation Ceremonies professed by every Member, adequately sums up Maurice’s approach to his life in the SDC:
‘The vocation to this state of life does not come from the world but from God who, in his providence makes use of humble and lowly instruments to achieve his aim. Make yourselves holy and God will make use of you’.
We remember Maurice as a spirited and often confronting man, faith-filled for who daily Mass was the norm. He challenged all of us to do the same and to live out our vocation in total freedom as he did.
His last few months lived with the Members at our retirement village in Malta was a blessing for us – he enjoyed these days spent in comfort with support from his family and Members whom he had connected with during the eighty-three years of his life. We thank God for the life of Maurice Paul Mifsud who passed from this life on 8 February 2010.