Named after Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier, the Marist priest who came from France to be the first Catholic Bishop of New Zealand. Pompallier spoke Maori fluently and wrote the hymn we often sing ‘Mo Maria’. He was present at the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840 and argued for the clause guaranteeing religious freedom. This action reminds us of our Mercy Values of Justice and Respect for Human Dignity.
St Peter Chanel was the first martyr and Saint of Oceania. It should give us all inspiration to aspire to be just like St Peter Chanel. God calls us to be ‘saints’. St Peter Chanel was a patient, kind, loving and forgiving. St Peter Chanel followed on from St John the Baptist and prepared the way for Christ to grow in the hearts of the people in Futuna.
Cecilia Maher was named as the Sister of Mercy who led the group which came from Ireland to New Zealand in 1850 in response to a call from Bishop Pompallier. Cecilia is our link back to Catherine McAuley and the start of the Mercy order; she would have known Catherine before her death in 1841. Cecilia’s bravery in taking on such a huge challenge reminds us that our vision is ‘to see the need and make the difference’. Being women who will make a difference takes courage and persistence. The day after the Sisters arrived in Auckland following their five month voyage, they began teaching and caring for the sick.
Catherine McAuley was the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Although she never came to New Zealand, her legacy lives on in the lives of her Sisters and all those who uphold the charism of mercy. Catherine McAuley always put the needs of the poor and vulnerable at heart and her life reminds us of our Mercy Values.