Nowhere is Suzanne Aubert honoured more than in Wellington. When she died in 1926, at the age of 91, the city stopped its ordinary business, the courts adjourned to honour her.
Take a tour around Wellington following in the footsteps of this remarkable woman and appreciate what a life of faith and compassion can achieve.
On the evening of 5 January 1899, Suzanne Aubert and her three Sisters arrived with two shillings and sixpence at the Te Aro Railway Station in Wellington from Whanganui. They walked up to Buckle Street where they had rented number 22. It has since been pulled down, but the brick building – used as the crèche and built in 1916 – is still standing. St Joseph’s Church – once on the corner of Buckle and Tory Streets under the shadow of St Patrick’s College – was a boarding school in those days and the Sisters looked after the sick boys.
Tory Street, Haining Street, Taranaki Street, Cuba Street, Willis Street and Courtenay Place were all familiar places where Suzanne Aubert and her Sisters wheeled their three-wheeled ‘pram’s’, made especially by Edwin Arnold whose house still stands on the corner of Kensington and Abel Smith Streets.
Visit St Mary of the Angels in the City where Suzanne often spent time. Behind it is Flagstaff Hill where Suzanne once took her Sisters for an outing on New Year’s Day. The Catholic Cemetery in Mount Street was another favourite place to visit.
Suzanne often visited the Lynch family whom she had met on the West Coast in 1889. They lived in Ferndale House, Molesworth Street next to the Premier, Richard Seddon, whose daughter Elizabeth became a close friend of Suzanne.
Suzanne once used a shed at the back of Mr Brodie’s boot-maker’s shop opposite the main gates of Parliament in Molesworth Street to store and mix her remedies.
Government House was also in this area, situated where the Beehive now stands, where she used to visit Lady Plunket.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the Basilica which has some features from the first St Joseph’s Church in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Here Bishop Redwood officiated at the baptism of a baby boy in 1898, whose mother was going to drown herself and her child at Oriental Bay before Suzanne arranged to take the child into care at Jerusalem.
Suzanne Aubert and the Sisters also spent a lot of time travelling to and from the city by tram.
The original Home of Compassion was built in 1906-7 and demolished in 1987 and replaced by the present complex. Suzanne Aubert is buried in a crypt a joining the main Chapel at Our Lady’s Home of Compassion. The reservoir was built on the hill behind it in the early days before the main water service reached Island Bay.
A visit to the Chapel ends the Pilgrimage.