6 October 2019
On behalf of the Sisters of Compassion, thank you for supporting the Suzanne Aubert Celebration Sunday. I am unsure if your parish is able to play the video that has been prepared for this special day. If not, then as an alternative, I am writing to ask if you could please read out the following message after Communion on Celebration Sunday.
“Today at the beginning of the Extraordinary Month of Mission called by Pope Francis, we remember one of the great missionaries who came to New Zealand 150 years ago. Venerable Suzanne Aubert was just 25 when she responded to Christ’s call to leave her native country of France and spend three months travelling to New Zealand on a whaling boat. She had a
particular calling to serve Māori, and she became known to the tangata whenua as Meri Hohepa – a woman of great faith.
Her response to what she encountered in Aotearoa at that time was to establish the first soup kitchen in New Zealand, which still serves thousands of meals a year. She established homes for abandoned children and provided care for the severely disabled, the sick, and the dying.
Suzanne died here in Aotearoa New Zealand 94 years ago this week.
For 66 years of her life, she sought to be the compassionate face of Jesus to all she encountered.
Venerable Suzanne has already reached the second of four steps on her journey to sainthood.
Earlier this year, a formal diocesan inquiry was held in Christchurch to investigate an alleged
miracle through her intercession. Those findings are currently being examined in Rome and the New Zealand bishops will be meeting with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican when we visit later this month.
Let us continue to pray for the recognition of Suzanne’s intercession in the granting of a miracle.
She can then be beatified and thus universally acclaimed as a true and humble follower of Jesus, inspiring us on our own journey or hikoi of faith. And as we wait, the Sisters of Compassion invite you to consider visiting the final resting place of Venerable Suzanne Aubert in Island Bay, Wellington, which holds some wonderful reflection and prayerful events like the forthcoming Taize weekend in November, or any of the places she visited and worked around New Zealand.
As Suzanne often said: “Thanks be to God for all He has done and is doing for us”.
Yours sincerely in Christ
President – NZCBC / Bishop of Auckland
6 October 2019