Catholics throughout the country are being invited to consider going on pilgrimage in New Zealand and retracing the footsteps of Venerable Suzanne Aubert.
Sunday, October 7, marks the third annual Celebration Day for Venerable Suzanne Aubert in all Catholic churches throughout New Zealand. On that day parishioners will be asked to participate in celebrating the “spirituality and good works” of Suzanne Aubert and to pray a
special prayer of the faithful at Sunday Mass.
Parishes have also been asked to play a 5-minute video that introduces the idea of making a personal pilgrimage in this country by retracing Suzanne’s own footsteps throughout Aotearoa New Zealand during the 66 years she lived in this country.
Bishop Charles Drennan, the NZCBC liaison bishop for Suzanne Aubert’s cause, said “there is a growing realisation of the great spiritual benefits and uplift of the soul when we go to a place where a saint or a person of great depth, lived and walked and shared the gift [of
faith] that they had been given. Pilgrimage is something that can start today . . .
we don’t need to wait for the formal process of beatification and canonisation to
take its course”.
As a migrant from her native country of France, at 25 years of age, Suzanne spent three months travelling to New Zealand on a whaling boat so that she could answer the call of Christ: the call to serve the Māori, the sick, the orphaned, the elderly and those whom society rejected. She travelled extensively throughout the country, becoming fluent
in Māori and establishing a rapport with the tangata whenua. Her charism was
care of the vulnerable wherever she Aubert pilgrimage suggestions.
Suzanne’s spirit of care and compassion lives on in the only permanent New Zealand-established religious order, the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion.
The work of the sisters today continues in Suzanne’s pioneering footsteps through the soup kitchen that still serves almost 40,000 meals a year, their engagement in social work, pastoral care, prison and hospital chaplaincies, education, working with the disadvantaged,
migrant communities, and care of the sick and the elderly.
Pope Francis officially declared Suzanne Aubert venerable in January, 2016, and her journey to sainthood continues as the New Zealand church explores the recognition of her intercession in a miracle healing.
Sister Margaret Anne Mills, the congregational leader of the Sisters of Compassion, has invited anyone who would like to go on pilgrimage to consider visiting the final resting place of Suzanne Aubert, which is now a beautiful crypt in Island Bay.
“Everyone is welcome here at Island Bay, the final resting place of Venerable Suzanne Aubert,” she said, when suggesting that going on pilgrimage to a place where Suzanne lived and worked was something all Catholics might like to consider while waiting for
the Church to officially recognise her as a saint.
To help people plan a pilgrimage and learn more about the 24 places around New Zealand where Suzanne lived and worked, a special digital pilgrimage map has been created on the website (www.suzanneaubert.co.nz) and there is also a downloadable map guide.
It is hoped that many more New Zealanders will learn of the spirituality and good works of Venerable Suzanne Aubert and in doing so, see her as a leading light in the establishment of social welfare in New Zealand and a wonderful example to follow.
For more information on the Footsteps through Aotearoa New Zealand campaign, contact the national convenor John Bergin ([email protected]) or Sr Josephine Gorman, the archivist for the Sisters of Compassion [email protected]