She and her brother George became well-versed in farm life from an early age. As to how the Congregation and its Foundress, Suzanne Aubert, became known to Mary Jane has not been documented.
Mary Jane entered the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion during the latter years of Suzanne Aubert’s life so she was in the privileged position of having many personal encounters with our Foundress prior to her death in 1926. At Reception into the Noviciate, Mary Jane received the name Hedwige. Her Profession followed two years later. Then she had the opportunity to attend the Course of Instruction in Nursing at the Wellington Centre of the St John Ambulance Association and successfully passed the examination.
Sister Hedwige’s first appointment was to the new Community in Auckland where she cared for infants for two years. Then, in 1919, she was appointed Mistress of Novices, a position she competently held for eleven years. Sister Hedwige was then transferred to the newly opened Aubert Home in Whanganui where she nursed the frail and the aged. Sister reached out and touched the hearts of many people with a compassionate love and a readiness to serve their needs.
In 1945, at the request of the Bishop of Dunedin, she and four other Sisters were appointed to Holy Cross College to manage its domestic operations until the arrival of the Cluny Sisters in 1949. A series of transfers then took place: Timaru, Carterton, Buckle St, and finally to the Home at Island Bay, where she spent her final years of retirement.
Sister suffered a gradual deterioration in physical and mental health but through it all she maintained her gentle and quiet personality, accepting her infirmities in an uncomplaining manner. Sister Hedwige edified everybody by her humility, patience, sweetness, and ready response to prayers said for and with her. She accepted whatever was given or done for her, and was never heard to complain. Attending her Requiem were several priests who remembered Sister’s many kindnesses when she worked at the College in Mosgiel.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
02.10.1877 01.03.1910 28.09.1912 29.08.1963 Wellington Karori Cemetery