We Met In The South Seas

By Michael Dalton

Enriqueta, once one of Fr O'Brien's community leaders, visits him at Misyon Office with her husband, Michael Dalton

In 1993, Enriquita arrived in Western Samoa to begin her role as a lay missionary at Paul VI College and as an Incola Mariae of Legion of Mary to share her gift and to learn about life outside the Philippines. After two years in Western Samoa she moved to American Samoa in 1995 to work at Fasso High School and work as Math and Science teacher for another two years.

At the same time I arrived at Paul VI College Western Samoa to replace Enriquita as a Math teacher. I came as a lay through the Australian organization, Paulian Association of Lay missionary Secretariat (PALMS). My reason for applying for PALMS was that I very much wanted to help the poor.

Getting to know each other

In August 1995, Enriquita went back to Western Samoa to visit her friends. It was during this time that we met and begun to get to know each other and share our mission experience and we came to a similar conclusion. We both wanting to help the people in Samoa, but in the end we found out that we had both been helped and changed for the better.

Learning about Happiness

For me personally, I learnt about happiness. Most of the students at the school would be considered very poor by Western Standards. Yet their ability to lose themselves in the moment and just be happy, I found so amazing, something I doubt I ever experienced in my childhood. I would watch the students after school play rugby (Samoan Football) and they would just laugh and laugh. Even when torrential downpour of rain came, they would even have more fun, sliding along the wet grasses.

Did We Make a Difference?

When we both look back at our time we can’t help but doubt whether we made any difference, but what in the end mattered was that we had lived these years of our lives with the people of Samoa and what had changed in the end was us.

In February 1997, we were married in Melbourne, Australia which is where we currently live. We believe the missionary spirit is still much alive in us and will always be. It is one of the crucial elements that unite us.

Whether we work again overseas or our mission becomes the raising of a family, we now place this in God’s hands.