On the path to sainthood
Suzanne Aubert (1835-1926) led a life of service and compassion.
After arriving in New Zealand from France in 1860, she spent time in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui and Wellington.
She started a home for orphans and the under-privileged in Jerusalem, on the Whanganui River, and founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion and two hospitals in Wellington.
Aubert devoted her life to helping others, caring for the sick and educating children, and wrote books in Maori, English and French.
She skilfully combined Maori medicine with European science and throughout her life was unbowed by lack of resources or in the face of opposition.
‘‘What she [Aubert] taught and what she believed in is still relevant today.’’
Fr Maurice Carmody, who is among those working towards Aubert’s sainthood, said her funeral, in Wellington in 1926, was a testament to the respect she had earned.
‘‘Her funeral stopped Parliament and thousands of people came to [the Home of Compassion in Island Bay] to honour her,’’ he said.
‘‘What she taught and what she believed in is still relevant today. She was the most extraordinary person.’’
Aubert was buried in Karori Cemetery and 25 years later her remains were transferred to the Home of Compassion.