Sr. Marie Bernadette Serao

Bernadette Bu was born in Tsak Pumakos in the Yangel Village in Enga Province of Papua New Guinea as the youngest of four children to Simeon and Veronica Serao. She attended St. Thomas School in Tsak Pumakos for grades K-6 and then attended Notre Dame High School in Kumdi graduating in November 1974.

Always desiring to be a Sister, Bernadette entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Notre Dame and was invested in 1975. She attended Holy Trinity Teachers’ College in Mt. Hagen earning her teaching degree which allowed her to minister at various primary schools in the Western and Eastern Highlands for 27 years as an excellent teacher.

Her faithfulness and great love for our international congregation was evident by her participation in congregational events. Sister Marie Bernadette participated in the International Congress on the Apostolate in 1983 held in the USA where she presented a paper on Papua New Guinea. She also traveled to Rome for the Formation Course and participated as an elected delegate for PNG in the General Chapter of 1992. In 1997 she participated in the Spirituality Symposium in Brazil and then in 2009 joined the Sisters of the Toledo Province for their Provincial Chapter.

Sister ministered as Deputy Manager of Maria Kwin Vocational Center in Banz for seven years, before becoming involved in the Better World Movement in the Hagen Diocese from 2008-2014. As an Animator in the Better World Movement, she traveled to various dioceses training the leaders.

With great love and respect for the young women discerning their religious vocation, Sister was the formation directress of candidates and junior professed. In 2017 she eagerly accepted the invitation to be part of the SND Formation Team in Bataan, Philippines for the young women in the Asian territory including women from PNG, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia.

Returning from the Philippines in February of 2020 because of medical reasons, she was lovingly cared for by the postulants and professed sisters in PNG during these past months. She was faithful to her vocational call with joyfulness even in these times of suffering and pain. Lovingly she was called by the Almighty God to give herself into his waiting arms on July 11, 2020. She entered her eternal rest while on her way home from the hospital to be with her Sisters and family in her final hours.

May she rest in His loving embrace.

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