Soon-to-be New Zealand's first saint

Suzanne Aubert was born in St Symphorien-de-Lay, France, and moved to New Zealand in 1860 to form the Congregation of the Holy Family to educate Māori children.

She devoted her life to help others – and 92 years after her death she is on the cusp of becoming New Zealand's first Catholic saint.

She founded a religious order, the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion in 1892 and later started two hospitals in Wellington – St Joseph's Home for the Incurables and Our Lady's Home of Compassion.

She cared for children and the sick by skilfully combining Māori medicine and Pakeha science, and wrote books in Māori, English and French adding significantly to a higher cultural understanding and literacy heritage.


Aubert's funeral in October 1926 was widely reported at the time to be the largest funeral ever accorded a woman in New Zealand.

In late 2016, she was declared "venerable" by Pope Francis at a ceremony at the Vatican.

In 2015, the official case for her proposed canonisation was submitted to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome.

The next stage involved in her being declared a saint involved the recognition of a miracle attributed to her, such as recovery from a terminal illness as a result of prayer. Aubert could then be declared "blessed" by the Pope. A second miracle will enable her to be canonised as a saint.