Charlotte was one of the young women who would have met Mother Aubert and Sister Magdalen while they were on the West Coast collecting for the new Church and Convent at Jerusalem-Hiruhārama.
Her mother had taken an active part in helping the Sisters, and the germ of a vocation for a ‘Missionary Life’ took root. Mother Aubert always considered her vocation to be a very strong one.
Charlotte entered the Sisters of Compassion at Jerusalem-Hiruhārama on 9 October 1893, and together with another West Coaster, Margaret Hartnett, was introduced to the hardships of missionary life. But they both persevered and were staunch Sisters of Compassion, always devoted to Mother Aubert.
On 24 June, 1894, Charlotte began her Novitiate training, and was given her Religious name Sister Mary Martha. After her Profession on 6 January, 1896, Sister Martha spent a great deal of time on the Farm which was located three miles above Jerusalem-Hiruhārama, assisting Sister Carmel. They rose at 5.00 a.m. and went straight to the fields, saying their Morning Prayers on the way. Meditation was made during work. On returning to the Convent, there were the children to care for.
When the Orphanage at Jerusalem-Hiruhārama was closed down in 1907, Sister Martha came to live at Island Bay. The following year she was transferred to the Home for Incurables at Buckle Street, where she lived until 1914 before returning to Island Bay.
When Mother Aubert wrote from Rome asking for some new caps to be made and sent to her, it was Sister Martha who lovingly performed this task. She did it so beautifully, that Mother in her letter mentioned that as soon as she opened the parcel she sensed the love behind the work of making and goffering the caps.
In 1933, Sister Martha became a member of the first Silverstream Community. Unfortunately, during 1937 an emergency operation had to be performed to amputate her leg which had become gangrenous. Everyone was amazed at her patience in suffering. She had an artificial limb made but never managed to master its use. Sister was able to move about the Infirmary with a crutch and special sticks. For travel further afield, she was obliged to use a wheel-chair.
Sister Martha’s health remained much the same for four years, but in 1941 she began to suffer severe pain which the doctors did everything they could to relieve. Sister received the Last Anointing and the Sisters gathered about her bed, praying incessantly until the end. Sister died, as quietly as she had lived, about 1.15 a.m. on the last day of the year, 1941.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
29.12.1875 09.10.1893 06.01.1896 31.12.1941 Silverstream Karori Cemetery