The path to New Zealand sainthood of missionary Mother Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert has been delayed with a Vatican medical council deciding a potential miracle attributed to her can be explained by medical science.
The case for a miracle, the details of which remain private to protect the privacy of the person concerned, was put in 2019 to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican agency responsible for studying sainthood nominations. The Congregation appointed a medical council to study it.
New Zealand's Catholic bishops approved the introduction of the Cause of Suzanne Aubert's sainthood in 1997. A formal Diocesan Inquiry was held in 2004, when the available evidence for promoting her as a saint was gathered. The results were sent to Rome and approved for further consideration. Included with this material was Jessie Munro's biography, The Story of Suzanne Aubert. As a result, Suzanne Aubert was given the title "Servant of God". Subsequent presentation and approval of the relevant material led to Pope Francis declaring her "Venerable" in 2016.
After someone is declared venerable, the Catholic Church requires proof of two miracles before they can be declared a saint. Recognition of a first miracle would have resulted in Pope Francis awarding her the title "Blessed," the penultimate step on the path to her being declared "Saint". She continues to be known as Venerable Suzanne Aubert, a woman of outstanding Christian virtue.
Sister Margaret Anne Mills DOLC, leader of the Sisters of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, says the medical council's ruling means it is time to consider the future path of the official process towards Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert's canonisation.
"From my point of view, the miracle is in the life of those concerned in this process. I witness daily the gift we have of asking Meri Hōhepa to intercede for us on our behalf. It is extraordinary. It is tangible. We have much to be grateful for and we are on a journey of faith. I have witnessed the faith and healing of people as they request Meri Hōhepa's intercession. This will continue," said Sr Margaret Anne.
"Meri Hōhepa would say at this moment: 'It is God's will.' She said that 'when all else fails this is the moment of God.' We need to rest in that moment for a while, before deciding where to go next."
Suzanne Aubert (1835-1926) founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion (the Sisters of Compassion) in 1892. She was a friend and advocate for Māori, children, the poor and the sick, with the Sisters continuing her work to this day. Thousands lined Wellington's streets for her funeral in 1926, an extraordinary tribute to a woman who dedicated herself to "people of all religions or none."
Cardinal John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference says: "No matter the outcome of the Cause for Beatification, Suzanne Aubert is remembered, through her writings, prayers and sayings and her life of working for those most in need. All of that lives on. There is no doubt that Suzanne, Meri Hōhepa, was a holy woman, she was greatly loved and respected. All she would want is for us all to follow her example and carry on with works of compassion."
Kua whakatarunatia e te Wātikana te hīkoi hātotanga nā runga i te whakatau, "ehara i te merekara"
Kua tinakuhia te hīkoi hātotanga Aotearoa mō te whaea kaimīhana a Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert nā te whakatau o tētehi kaunihera rata e mea ana ka taea te whakamārama i te merekara pitomata nōna nō te tātari mātauranga pūtaiao.
Ka noho muna tonu ngā kōrero mō te merekara hei tiaki i te matatapu tō taua tangata, na i te tau 2019 i tukuna te tono nei ki te Whakaminenga mō ngā Kaupapa Hātotanga, nā rātou te haepapa mō te āta tātari i ngā tono tautapa hāto. I tohua tētehi kaunihera rata e te Whakaminenga hei āta tātari i ā ia.
I te tau 1997 i whakamanahia te whakarewanga o te Kaupapa Kimikimi Hātotanga mō Suzanne Aubert e ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa. I te tau 2004 i tīmatahia tētehi uiuinga matua Rohe Pīhopa, nā reira i kohikohia ngā kōrero taunakitanga hei tautoko i tōna hātotanga. I tukuna ēnei kohinga kōrero ki Roma, nā kōnā ka whakaaengia te hīkoi whakamua.
Ko te haurongo nā Jessie Munro e kī ana Te Kōrero mō Suzanne Aubert tētehi o ngā kohinga kōrero i tukuna atu. Nā tēnā i riro i a Meri Hōhepa te taitara, "Pononga a te Atua". Nā wai rā i te tau 2016, nā te whakaatu atu me te āmene ki ēnei kōrero whaitake ka whakapuakina e Pāpā Werahiko he "Kahurangi" ā ia.
I muri mai i te whakapuakina o te taitara kahurangi ko te tikanga Hāhi Katorika mō te whakapuakina hātotanga me whai tonu i ngā merekara e rua hei whakatūturu i taua mana hātotanga. Mēnā ka whakaaengia e Pāpā Werahiko tēnei merekara tuatahi ko te hua ka tapaina "he Tapu" ā ia, nā he kauneke nui tēnei kia tohua ia hei "Hāto". Ka mōhiotia tonuhia ia te Kahurangi nei a Meri Hōhepa hei wahine ngākau Karaitiana pai rawa.
E mea ana a Whāea Tapu Margaret Anne Mills DOLC, te kaiarahi o ngā Whāea Tapu o Pūaroha ki Taputeranga, ki Te Ūpoko o te Ika, 'nā te whakatau o te kaunihera rata kua tae mai te wā ki te noho whakamuri ki te āta whakaaro mō te ara whakamua me te huarahi ōkawa ki te hātotanga o Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert.
"Ki ōku whakaaro, ko te whaiora o te hunga e karapotia nei e tēnei kaupapa kē te merekara. Ia rā ka rongo atu au i te tākoha o ngā īnoinga tono ki a Meri Hōhepa māna ō mātou tono e kawe atu mō mātou. He mea mīharo rawa. He mea tūturu,” Nā Whaea Tapu Margaret Anne te kī.
“He maha ngā mea hei whakawhetai atu, ā he hīkoi whakapono. Kua kitea te whakapono me ngā mahi whakaora nā ngā īnoinga tono a te hunga whakapono ki a Meri Hōhepa. Ka mea a Meri Hōhepa i tēnei wā: 'Nā te manatapu a te Atua'. Nāna te kī, 'ki te pāheke ngā mea katoa kei te Atua te tikanga.' I mua i te whakatau ka ahu pēwhea, me noho pū tātou i te wā iti.”
Nā Suzanne Aubert (1835 – 1926) Ngā Pononga Tamāhine o Tō Tātou Kahurangi Pūaroha (Ngā Whāea Tapu o Pūaroha) i whakakaupapa i te tau 1892. He hoa pūmau, he kaitaunaki ia mō te iwi Māori, mō ngā taitamariki, mō te rawakore me te hunga tūroro, ka kawea ēnei mahi e ngā Whāea Tapu tae noa ki tēnei rā. I te tau 1926 i muia ngā tiriti o Pōneke e te mano tāngata, nā koia tērā te whakatinanatanga o te mihi nui ki tētehi wahine i whakapaua tōna kaha ki te “hunga tangata ahakoa te whakapono kore whakapono rānei.”
E mea ana a Katinara John Dew, Tumuaki o te Huinga Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa: “Ahakoa te hua o te Kaupapa Kimikimi mō te Hātotanga, ka maharatia a Suzanne Aubert mō āna tuhituhi, āna īnoinga, āna kupu whakaari me te āhua o tana manawaroa ki te manaaki i te hunga rawakore. Kei te ora tonu taua kaupapa. Kāore e kore he wahine tapu a Suzanne, Meri Hōhepa, na i arohaina, i whai mana ia. Ko tōna ōhākī mō tātou me whai tonu i tōna tauira, ā, me kawe tonu i ngā mahi pūaroha.”