In 1889, Mother Aubert, on one of her collecting tours in the South Island, visited the family home. Mary, aged 18, was attracted, and was challenged by this special visitor and nun to join the Sisters of Compassion who lived in the Māori settlement in Jerusalem-Hiruhārama on the Whanganui River.
At the age of 23, Mary set off to the unknown Mission settlement in August, 1894, and was given the name Salome at the time of her entrance into the Sisters of Compassion Noviciate. The primitive conditions, the isolation of the area, the many hardships and long hours of work with sick and disadvantaged babies and children didn’t deter the enthusiasm within the heart of Sister Salome. Her Profession took place on 8 September, 1897, with Sister Salome becoming the eleventh Sister of Compassion in the newly formed Congregation.
Sister Salome helped transfer the young children to the newly opened Home for Incurables at Buckle Street, Wellington, in 1900. Under the patronage of St Joseph and the ever increasing demands on their limited finances, Sister faced the daily challenges of this life relying on Divine Providence as her bank for spiritual and material security. From Wellington to Auckland, Sister Salome went eagerly to help the small Community there who were struggling to maintain the St Vincent Home in Mt Eden which was undergoing difficulties and opposition from the Church. With the closure of this Home, Sister Salome returned to Wellington.
The crisis of the 1918 flu epidemic saw her take an active part in the Emergency Hospital set up at St Patrick’s College for the nursing of patients. She, however, became gravely ill through contracting the flu virus which left her with on-going health problems.
Sister Salome was known for her sense of humour which charmed the rough and needy men who were admitted to the Buckle St Home. Her prayerful presence and compassionate nursing at the bedside of the dying was greatly appreciated.
Sister celebrated her Golden Jubilee at Buckle Street in 1947. Slowly her health deteriorated and she was transferred to the Convent at Island Bay for further nursing care. Inspired by Mother Aubert’s spirituality to see the face of Christ in the poor, the afflicted, and the under-privileged, Sister Salome was a faithful, dedicated and humble instrument in the hands of God.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
09.11.1871 15.09.1894 08.09.1897 02.05.1949 Island Bay Karori Cemetery