As Mother Aubert was away in Rome, she was admitted to the Novitiate by Sister M. Claver. It was at this Ceremony that she received the religious name Sister M. Bernard. On 3 April, 1919, Sister Bernard made her First Profession. Her Perpetual Profession was made in the presence of Mother M. Joseph Aubert on 3 April, 1925.
On June 27, 1929, Sister Bernard was made Local Econome of the Mother House. This office was extended from June, 1932 to March, 1933 when she was appointed Second in Charge for the Home for Incurables in Buckle Street. When the men were transferred to the new Home at Silverstream, Sister Bernard accompanied them. Then in March, 1936 she was transferred to Auckland as Second in Charge.
In March, 1939 Sister returned to Island Bay to act as Local Econome. She remained in this position until 1942 when she was appointed Second in Charge of the Mother House, a position she retained for the next twenty years.
Sister Bernard was an exemplary Religious, humble, prayerful and self- effacing. She was very conscientious and gave great edification by her regularity at Spiritual Exercises and her remarkable devotion to duty. Sister applied herself assiduously to her work and never liked to be idle. She always had knitting or tatting to do. She liked to play checkers especially in her later years when she could no longer see to do close work. She loved her community and the other Sisters and the Institute were very dear to her heart.
Money or worldly goods meant nothing to Sister Bernard. Her parents both died before she entered the Order; when she inherited their farm property she gave the proceeds of the sale unreservedly to the Sisters of Compassion. The money was used to purchase eleven acres of the Home property in Sister Bernard’s name. This piece of land is known as ‘Ballarat’, and is now owned by the Marae Committee. Sister’s spirit of poverty was such that she had nothing but bare necessities when she died.
Her death was unexpected and came as a shock to the Sisters even though she had been a diabetic for thirty years and suffered from Meniere’s Disease and angina pectoris. At the beginning of 1971 she had become very deaf and cataracts on both eyes meant she could see very little; she bore her sufferings however with admirable patience and without complaint. Sister Bernard was admitted to the Infirmary in August and remained there until 11 November when medication could not relieve her severe chest pain. She was taken to our Hospital where she died early the next morning.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
06.01.1891 27.10.1916 03.04.1919 12.11.1971 Island Bay Karori