The path to New Zealand’s holiness by Mary Hohepa’s missionary mother Suzanne Auber has stalled.

The Vatican Medical Council has recently concluded that medical science can explain the potential miracle attributed to it.

Sister Margaret Ann Mills, leader of the Sisters of Mercy in Island Bay, Wellington, says the medical board’s decision means it’s time to consider further the formal process before the canonization of Mary Hohepa Suzanne Auber.

“From my point of view, a miracle in the lives of those involved in the process.

“I testify daily of the gift we have by asking Mary Hohep to intercede for us on our behalf. This is extraordinary. It’s tangible.

“We have something to be grateful for and we are on the path of faith. I have witnessed the faith and healing of the people when they ask for the intercession of Mary Hohepa.

“It will continue,” Mills said.

“Mary Hohepa would say at this point, ‘This is the will of God.’ She said that “if all else fails, it’s God’s moment.”

“We need to rest at this point for a while before deciding where to go next.”

Cardinal John Dew, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of New Zealand, says: “Whatever the outcome of the Beatification, Susan Aubert is remembered through her letters, prayers and sayings, and her life, working for those most in need.

“It all lives on.

“There is no doubt that Susanna, Mary Hohep, was a holy woman, she was very much loved and respected.

“All she wants is for us all to follow her example and continue acts of compassion.”

The miracle case, the details of which remain closed to protect the privacy of the person concerned, was referred in 2019 to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican agency responsible for studying solidarity nominations. The Congregation appointed a medical council to study.

The Catholic bishops of New Zealand approved the introduction of Susanna Ober in 1997.

A formal diocesan investigation was conducted in 2004, when available evidence was gathered to bring her to the saints. The results were sent to Rome and approved for further consideration.

This material included a biography of Jesse Monroe, “The Story of Susanna Ober.”

As a result, Susan Aubert received the title of “Servant of God”.

The subsequent presentation and approval of the relevant material led to the fact that Pope Francis declared it “honorable” in 2016.

Once someone is declared venerable, the Catholic Church requires proof of two miracles before it can be declared a saint. Recognition of the first miracle would have led Pope Francis to give her the title of “Blessed”, which was the penultimate step towards her canonization.

Susanna Ober (1835-1926) founded in 1892 the organization “Daughters of the Mother of God of Mercy” (Sisters of Compassion).

She was a friend and advocate of the Maori, children, the poor and the sick, and the sisters continue her work to this day.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Wellington for her funeral in 1926, an unusual tribute to a woman who dedicated herself to “people of all religions or none.”

She is still known as the venerable Susanna Ober, a woman of outstanding Christian virtues.


  • Supplied by: National Catholic Communications NZ

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