Sisters of Compassion – 125 years

Thanks be to God for all he has done and is doing for us.” These words were one of the most used phrases of the Venerable Suzanne Aubert. I believe that here in New Zealand we can genuinely say those words with her. We can say them in gratitude for all that she was and is for the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On Saturday 14 October we had a wonderful day with the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion as they celebrated 125 years since the Congregation was founded by Suzanne Aubert. It was a great day as we joined the Sisters in giving thanks with them and for them.

The day began at 6am with a solemn and beautiful celebration led by the Mana Whenua as every-one was welcomed and processed up the pathway through newly landscaped gardens to the chapel where Suzanne has been laid to rest. There was a solemn blessing of the crypt and of the Resurrection window by Iwi leaders and me, a Powhiri followed, and then blessing of the other new buildings including the Visitor Centre. The whole day was a truly bi-cultural celebration which honored Suzanne and her legacy, the Sisters of Compassion. Miha Māori (Māori Mass) concluded the celebration during which the sisters renewed their vows and we all gave thanks with them. Part of all of this was, of course, very generous hospitality which included breakfast and lunch.

The magnificent resting place of Suzanne, the Resurrection window, (and the other windows in the crypt area), the Visitor Centre, the gardens outside are all worth visiting. The Home of Compassion at Island Bay has always been a holy place, a place where all have been welcomed warmly and with gracious generosity.

Go and visit. Go and pray at the tomb of Mother Meri Hohepa. Go to the Visitor Centre and learn more about this incredible woman whom we are waiting to be declared New Zealand’s first canonized Saint. We are able to learn so much from her. Go and visit and learn with her how to say: “Thanks be to God for all he has done and is doing for us.”

With every blessing

+ John