The Sisters of Compassion consider that having a school named after their foundress is an honour. Although other schools have named classrooms and class houses after the Venerable Suzanne Aubert, this is the first time a whole school has been so named.
Sr Josephine Gorman, DOLC, told NZ Catholic the sisters “are happy knowing Suzanne Aubert’s spirit and legacy will live on in the minds and hearts of the teachers, pupils and parents at Papamoa and beyond”.
“Our hope is that the school will imbibe Suzanne’s spirit of faith and love for God to reach out to people with compassion, kindness and goodness,” Sr Josephine said.
The sisters were approached by Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe last March “asking for our opinion regarding having the new school in his diocese named after our tipuna”.
“Since then, the trustees of the school have done research on Suzanne Aubert, to enable them to focus and assist them in forming the charism of the school.”
Sr Josephine said she did not know if Suzanne visited Papamoa, but “between 1863-1865 she visited outlying Mȃori tribes”.
“It is certain that she visited the Waikato often enough to be thoroughly familiar with its flora and with the dialect of its tribes. Most of these journeys had to be made on foot, and extended throughout the Waikato and towards the Bay of Plenty.”
Sr Josephine added that she thought Suzanne Aubert “would be happy to have a school named after her because she had a special love for children, as shown by her actions and her care of them”.
“Besides nursing, Suzanne taught children, and reminded the sisters to love them and to give them a home, a place where they will be safe. Suzanne would hope that the children will be inspired by her to live the rest of their lives showing a good way of living, with a special love and care for people who are disadvantaged.”
The Catholic Parish of Wellington South will name the parish after Suzanne Aubert when she is beatified, Sr Josephine said.