A very special rug created by Venerable Suzanne Aubert formed part of an exhibition arranged by the Sisters of Compassion – Ngā Whaea O Pūaroha, called “Loose Threads”.
Sofia Roberts, events coordinator for the Sisters of Compassion, said that the exhibition was part of a bigger event called the South Coast Art Trail, which saw around 40 artists, community spaces, schools and churches in Island Bay and Ōwhiro Bay, open their doors to the public.
The bigger event was held on the weekend of April 15-16, 2023, but Ms Roberts said that they decided to extend their exhibition to the following weekend to give the public more time to view it.
“We were lucky to be included in that, because it brought in a lot of people that would have not known about us otherwise,” she said.
“We probably had a hundred on Sunday (April 16) and 50 or so on Saturday (April 15) that were coming up from the Art Trail. It was really lovely because a lot of them haven’t been to our site before, so it was nice to have new faces.”
The highlight of the exhibit was a carpet created by Mother Aubert and the sisters that lived with her at the Hiruhārama/Jerusalem convent, the first site for the order.
“We were really lucky to have it, considering that it was in use in Jerusalem. The colours are still really vivid,” Ms Roberts said.
She said that the carpet was gifted to the first Archbishop of Wellington, Francis William Mary Redwood, SM.
“After he passed away, it was taken back and included in the Compassion archive,” she said.
Ms Roberts said that most of the pieces displayed were from the archive run by Sr Josephine Gorman, DOLC. Some of the cross-stitch pieces that Sr Josephine herself made were included in the exhibition, Ms Roberts said.
She said that they referred to the pieces in the exhibit as fibre rather than textile art, because there were some that sat outside what can be considered as textiles.
“We have a few pieces from a sister who lived in Hiruhārama/Jerusalem who worked with wood and fibres. She collected bark from trees up there and lichen, and she made landscapes works of Jerusalem from that material that she gathered,” Ms Roberts explained.
Another contemporary piece was created by Sister Josefa Tikoisolomone, DOLC, who crocheted a colourful blanket while she was in the hospital for cancer and being treated with chemotherapy.
The blanket, which was passed on to Sr Josephine, was draped on her armchair in the archives. Sr Josephine lent both the blanket and the armchair to the exhibit.
Ms Roberts, who used to work for Museums Wellington before taking her position at the Sisters of Compassion, said that they put up a few exhibitions every year, apart from the two permanent exhibitions they have.
The permanent exhibitions feature one about the Sisters of Compassion as an organisation, and another about Mother Aubert.
These exhibits, as well as their café, are open from Tuesdays to Fridays.
Photo: One of the items in the exhibit.