Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Compassion ... #189

The Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre is in Central Wellington, not far from where the first soup kitchen in Buckle Street was established in 1899. From here the Sisters of Compassion are continuing to support the marginalised of our community by:
Providing meals
Friendship and hospitality
Spiritual ministry and fellowship
Being advocates for the disadvantaged
Visiting those in need
Bringing hope and dignity to those who ‘just survive’

Their Mission: To Know and Express the Compassion of Jesus Christ. The work of the Sisters is well supported by the local community. There is much volunteer input, co-operation with local authorities and other help agencies. The Centre has no predictable income, and is reliant on the generosity of those who share its philosophy.

Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, who arrived in New Zealand as a missionary in 1860, is widely recognised as a determined and extraordinarily compassionate woman. A brief quotation from the New Zealand Dictionary of Biography seems apposite:-
“In 1899, in response to requests from medical men, Mother Aubert brought three sisters to Wellington to undertake sick visiting in the slums. By support from many quarters they were able to feed the needy by gifts, mostly in kind, for Wellington took them immediately to its heart. In 1900 they began to take in the most neglected, bedridden cases. Like all her works, this was gratuitous and undenominational. From this time, however, she relied only on benefactions inspired by Providence. “It is my bank and it has never failed me yet.” she said later. (Previously she and her helpers had had some Government aid or had sold produce or medicines.) A soup kitchen for unemployed men was opened, and in 1902 a day nursery, the first in Wellington. In 1907, with about 14 children from Jerusalem, she began at Island Bay a children's home and a residential nursery.”
It is in part thanks to her vision that more than 7,000 infants, children and young people were cared for in their early years by the Sisters of Compassion.

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