The Sisters invite you to share your story about Suzanne Aubert.

Did you have a family member or friend who might have met Suzanne, or whose life was significantly impacted by her wonderful works?

Would you like to share with us, why you think Suzanne should be recognised as New Zealand’s first saint.

Please post your story and comments on this page.

Have your say

Have your say

Your Story

Peter Dalton, 30 May 2020

Historian; volunteer receptionist for the homeless.

I heard about Suzanne Aubert through a Mercy Sister who worked with my brother and sister-in-law in Western Samoa.I have the stamps and first day cover of Suzanne Aubert which were issued by New Zealand Post in 2007.I am an Australian, with a New Zealand ancestor.I am following the cause of Suzanne Aubert with great interest. I was in New Zealand in March 2004.

Phil Molloy, 22 November 2017

I have read a great letter written by my Great Aunt to her sister Agnus in October 1926. My Great Aunt was Sister Mary Baptista - Mary Dillon, she was a nun at Buckle Street in 1905 then she was based at Wanganui until she died there in 1939.  In her letter to her sister she wrote of the last hours of Mothers life and how she called on God to take her. she would call out in French" My God, My God have pity on me and take me to yourself , come and find your little one, my god recall me" and the letter sets out other happenings at her death.regards Phil Molloy

John Clapham, 26 August 2017

Grandad knew!

I was priveledged to introduce to our Howick parish, on behalf of the Cause of Mother Aubert, details of her life and our hopes for her being recognised as a Saint. Indeed as New Zealand's first Saint.Now in my mid 70's one of my clearest memories was of my late grandfather, William Frost, when I was aged just 11 telling me in no uncertain terms that should I need help in anything that a good way to put a "flea in the ear" of God was to pray to Suzanne. In his opinion she was for certain going to be New Zealand's first Saint.How could I resist the taking up of this "Cause"  given so lovingly to me in an oblique way that beautiful Wellington day up on Mt. Victoria.

trish mcqueen, 1 February 2016

time at carterton

I was brought up by the Sisters in Carterton and say thanks for giving me the best life.

Jenny Doherty, 20 August 2015

Hello Sr Jo. You know part of my
story already, in managing to get money from the Akl diocese to restore Mrs
Outhwaite & her childrens' grave at Waikaraka in Onehunga. I know that
Suzanne Aubert was the driving force behind this. In Sept 2009, I went to
Island Bay to pray for a special intention & I have prayed to Suzanne every
day since. I became interested in the Outhwaite family after reading Jesse
Munroe's biography. After having found the family grave broken & forgotten,
I knew I had to do something. Many times I thought it was too hard & I
didn't know where to turn. An inner voice would always encourage me & never
let me give up. I resigned to this & just let things happen.

  I believe that as
the Outhwaites helped Suzanne Aubert in life, she has helped them in death.
They were influential & significant in Auckland society in 1860 but after
1925 when Isa died, they had been forgotten.

After the restoration & unveiling of their grave, St
Peter's college has named a new 12 classroom block the "Outhwaite
Building". I believe all this has come about because of Suzanne Aubert.
She has repaid them. They are finally recognised in Auckland today & their
name is once again mentioned. As Suzanne Aubert said in one of her letters...."
Whose work is it? Surely not mine."

It is very exciting to know Rome is once again concerned
with Mother Aubert.

Regards Jenny Doherty.

 

Audrey Bakulich, 10 May 2015

audbak@slingshot.co.nz

My grandmother Estelle Hoult attended St.Mary,s college in Wgtn for two years in 1900, her home was in Waiti Nelson. Archbishop Francis Redwood who was her uncle felt a young girl should be occupied at weekends and he arranged for her to help Mother Aubert with the children  at the foundlings home in Buckle St.. She also helped in the collection of donated food transported in the now familiar pram about the town of Wgtn. Estelle was obviously  greatly influenced during this period with Mother Aubert as my mother grew up with these memories . When I visited Jerusalem in 1968 I remember her again referring to that place her mother had told her about. My mother developed a malignant melanoma on her leg in 1973' her prognosis was given as 6months  to a year. I researched some of Suzanne Auberts herbal remedies and made dressings  of crushed flax root and herbs we prayed for Suzanne to intercede. My mother lived to be 94 years of age and died peacefully in 2008.  Now here I am 3rd generation praying  that Suzanne Aubert will be raised to Sainthood.

Sister Annette Green, 22 February 2015

Lasting Influence for Generations

It all began with my mother Sarah Punch who met Mother Aubert as a child.  She would often speak of Mother Aubert and her connections with the family.The Punch family were early pioneer's in  Rateihi and Ohakune area were they had saw mills and settled on a farm.  There were only three European woman in the area at that time and the only route to travel was up the Wanganui River on the steamer and then on horse back to Rateihi.   When John and Rose Punch arrived they had three Young children and for the birth of the next five children Rose (nee Rogers) had to travel to her home, a farm on the Rangatiki Line Palmerston North.  On the journeys up and down the River they frequently met Mother Aubert and my mother believed Mother Aubert nursed her on her first journey as a tiny new born baby 1901.Five more children were added to the Punch family all born in Rateihi a developing little settlement where John Punch built shops a Boarding House run by his mother Catherine Punch who employed some of the girls, as Mother Aubert wanted her to prepare them for life after the Home.   My mother spoke of the medicines her father purchased from Mother Aubert for influenza and colds.  He was able to provide the Sisters with enough fire wood to keep them going through the cold wet winters.   Later, on his trips to Wellington he was introduced to the Homes there and sent Rail trucks of both wood and coal every winter.  My mother as a little girl and one of her sisters often stayed at Island Bay with the O'Reagan's who were family friends.  On such a visit she went up to see Mother Aubert at the Island Bay Home after it was Opened. The practice was carried on by my Uncles and while my family were staying with my Uncle Pierce we went to Jerusalem to pick cherries from the cherry orchard and we called on the Sisters, I was eleven at the time.  These stories and the great regard my uncles and all the family had for Mother Aubert, even keeping her letters, influenced my desire to follow her and so I enter the Sisters of Compassion in 1954 just over sixty years ago.   Sr. Annette Marie Green

Mrs B. Spellman, 24 November 2014

Sister Aloysius wrote about Suzanne Aubert to her sister Mrs B. Spellman.

‘When I entered the Home of Compassion in 1907, Mother Aubert was already seventy three years old, but still retained full use of her reason, her memory, and her fund of anecdotes were simply amazing. She was one of the wittiest and most charming of French women. All sorts and conditions of people from the Governor and his Lady to the poorest, was proud and glad to have a word with her. She was always the same, utterly unconscious of what people said or thought. If she was busy with hands and apron dirty, she would trot into the parlour to the most distinguished visitors. Human respect was entirely lost on her, and yet people loved her.

Pat Lawlor, 10 November 2014

Memory of Suzanne Aubert by Pat Lawlor

According to the fugitive two-line-a-day-entry diary I kept as a boy, my first encounter with Mother Mary Joseph Aubert was on September 13, 1903. I remember the occasion almost as though it had happened yesterday. I was at the time an altar boy at the old Saint Mary of the Angels’ Church in Boulcott Street Wellington. One evening as I was on my way to serve at Benediction I saw the figure of a nun sitting on the wooden steps leading up to the Church. She looked frail, pathetic and tired; her lips were moving as the work-worn fingers threaded her rosary beads. As I was about to pass she opened her eyes and looked at me. They were peaceful far-away eyes. Suddenly the eyes were lit up with such a beautiful smile and if I remember rightly she asked me to say a prayer for her.
After Benediction I looked for her again but she had gone but in the dim light I saw something glistening on the steps where she had been sitting. It was a neat pile of half-crowns! I took them to the Presbytery to old Father McNamara. When I explained, I think he said something about Mother Aubert “having a windfall that day”. As a matter of fact it was not unusual for the famous old lady to be halted by passers-by and given money for her precious charges. This seemed to happen always when she needed more help. 

Judge Blair, 10 November 2014

Judge Blair

During the last year of Suzanne Aubert’s life 1921-1926, he represented Sir Charles Skerrett as her legal advisor and most confidential friend.Speaking to Mother Cecilia in March, 1930, Judge Blair said, “Mother Aubert had struck him as being possessed of one of the greatest minds he had known”.  She had a great mind, occupied with great thoughts, so that she was mentally unfitted to take in small views and petty motives. Her mind simply could not take them in”. Judge Blair stated that he had known only one or two in New Zealand with what he described as the ‘greatest of mind’ he had observed in Mother Aubert. It made no difference to her whether she was speaking to one or to 10,000 persons, she was unconscious of numbers. She said what she wanted to say regardless of who was there:  Things of that kind did not influence her; they could not for she was unaware of them. Her mind was above such things.

Mrs Dempsey, 10 November 2014

Mrs Dempsey

My first meeting with Mother Aubert was when she was living at the Meanee Mission Station, Hawke’s Bay. Most of her time then was spent among the Māoris, often riding long distances from daylight to dark attending to their needs, both bodily and spiritual. For her own comfort she cared nothing, a crust of bread carried in her pocket often being her sole food for the day.
The Māoris she attended to, both body and soul, but to the Pakeha also she was ever a friend in need. Many cases of her kindness and charity, to say nothing of her skill, are recalled to my mind. In one case, a man named Joseph Jefferies was seriously ill and the doctors had given up all hope of him when Mother Aubert took the case in hand. The result was that the man was cured and lived for many years after.

Ida Grace Willis, 10 November 2014

Miss Ida Grace Willis

As I remember her in 1913-1914. She was the mist marvellous and famous woman I was ever privileged to meet, and the most lovable, gentle and courteous character, full of wisdom, grace and charm and real Christian charity. No one coming in contact with her could withstand her charm and the aura of goodness which prevailed about her, and yet so full of fun and wit.