Hanna came to New Zealand with her family when she was young. She was later housekeeper to Fathers Cognet and Maillard, the Marist Missionaries in Taranaki, and she first met Mother Aubert there, when consulting with Father Cognet.
On 30 April 1904, aged 30, Sister Gerard entered the Sisters of Compassion at St. Joseph’s Home, Buckle Street. Her Religious name was Sister Mary Gerard. After her Profession as a Sister of Compassion on 11 December 1905, Sister spent most of her time at the Buckle Street Home, but lived in Auckland from 1910-1913. From Auckland she returned to Buckle Street, and was appointed Local Econome, until her transfer to Jerusalem-Hiruhārama for nearly a year in 1919.
At the General Chapter of 1920, Sister Gerard was appointed General Econome of the Sisters of Compassion, a position she held for twenty years. She is deserved to be remembered for having set up for the first time a proper system of book-keeping for the Congregation.
During the last illness of Mother Aubert, Sister Gerard was her night nurse and slept in her room. She was the one closest to Mother when she died, and probably laid her out for burial.
Sister Gerard was a very outgoing type of person, interested in people and able to show this without self-consciousness. Sister had a reputation for never forgetting the name of a person, and to whom they were related. A remarkable gift.
In April 1945, Sister was transferred to Auckland as Procurator, but while there she became very ill, and in 1949 she returned to the Mother House and became a permanent member of the Community. She occupied herself with sewing the Sisters’ habits, a skill in which she was very proficient.
On 13 September 1966, while she was having her tea in the Infirmary, Sister Gerard died quite unexpectedly. She had been a permanent patient in the Infirmary for a long time and had been gradually deteriorating. Sister was in her 93rd year and the 61st year of her Religious Profession. The aim of the Sister of Compassion is especially to help others to die in union with Christ, and most especially, to do so herself. Sister Gerard lived for the other and died as she would have wished.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
25.02.1874 30.04.1904 11.12.1905 13.09.1966 Island Bay Karori Cemetery