FLORENCE REMATA / 1938-2014

Posted On August 12th, 2014 -

Franciscan sister, Kauai native served decades as educator

Pat Gee / pgee@staradvertiser.com

Sister Florence Remata, minister of the Hawaii-Southwest region of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, died Aug. 3 at the Queen’s Medical Center after a brief illness and 57 years of service to the Roman Catholic Church. She was 75.

According to the Hawaii Catholic Herald, Remata was born in Waimea, Kauai, the sixth of 12 children of Crisanto and Vicente Omakanim Remata. She graduated from Saint Francis Convent School on Oahu and joined the Sisters of St. Francis in 1956.13-B8-remata-obit-mug2

After taking her final vows in 1961, she chose St. Therese of Lisieux, “the Little Flower,” as her patron saint in honor of her home parish of St. Theresa in Kekaha, Kauai, where “the sisters taught me how to use the fork to eat, how to dance and all the social graces so that I wouldn’t be a wallflower,” she told the Catholic Herald in a 2011 interview.

Remata graduated from Chaminade College in Honolulu and Santa Clara University.

She taught at St. Peter School in Riverside, N.J.; St. Joseph School in Hilo, where she also was vice principal; and Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Pearl City. She was director of religious education at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Pearl City and at St. Patrick in Chittenango, N.Y.

Remata returned to Kauai to care for her mother in 1995. For the next 17 years she served at Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue as director of religious education and as pastoral associate. She was also the island’s liaison for the Catholic Diocese’s Department of Religious Education.

The Catholic Herald said she was the first and last Franciscan sister to be assigned to Kauai.

Remata told the Hawaii Catholic Herald at the time, “The people of Kauai are church-oriented and value priests and (the) religious.” Some nicknamed her “The Mayor of Kauai” for her friendliness and outreach.

Remata is survived by eight brothers: David, Edward, Alfredo and Richard Remata, all of Kauai; Stanley Remata of Pearl City; and Wilfred, Lawrence and Patrick Remata of California; and three sisters: Mildred Olores, Elizabeth Aquino and Vivian Nonaka, all of Kauai. She had 30 nephews and nieces, 60 grandnephews and grandnieces, and 11 great-grandnephews and great-grandnieces.

Her survivors also include her fellow Franciscan sisters and their associates.

Remata’s wake and funeral services are Monday at St. Pius X Church in Manoa. Visitation is 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.; the funeral Mass is at 5 p.m., followed by a reception in the parish hall.

Burial is at 9 a.m. the next day at Diamond Head Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the retirement fund of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, St. Francis Convent, 2715 Pamoa Road, Honolulu 96822-1885.

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