Early Years

Large Kauri Villa when it was bought

February 15, 1937 marked the arrival in Auckland of seven Discalced Carmelite Nuns from Dulwich Hill Monastery, Sydney. They began a new Foundation in New Zealand.

For two months the foundresses were the guests of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waikowhai, and while they were there they looked for a suitable house and situation for a monastery. A large kauri villa at 636 Mt. Albert Road, Epsom was purchased and the Carmelites moved in on April 20, of that year. The Bishop of Auckland, James M. Liston, who had requested the Foundation, offered the first Mass in the newly established Carmel on the following day.

In February 1938, the newly completed Chapel and Extern Convent were Blessed. Gradually the Community grew and the original buildings have been adapted and extended. The foyer of the Chapel, a recent addition, was Blessed by Bishop Patrick Dunn in February, 1998.

As regards the early years of the Foundation, others who have written of the first beginnings have gone into the matter but I will say what I know after I entered on May 8th, 1946.

The early days were very hard on account of poverty but the Bishop of Auckland, Michael James Liston, was very attentive and kind, the Catholic Women's Guild helped a great deal and little by little the Community became known. The people responded wonderfully and 

then World War II broke out two years after the Sisters came and that made things hard for everyone.

Some Sisters came from Melbourne to help in 1944 and then again in 1946, three came from Melbourne two weeks after I entered. One Sister was asked to return in 1949 as there was a Foundation planned for Wellington and she was to go there.The first person to enter this Carmel was Margaret Martin (Sr. Canisius of the Holy Spirit), she transferred to Fiji in 1974 to live the Hermit life and died there on 17th October 1997. The second person to enter here was Ethna Burgess (Sr. Mary of the Trinity), she died on November 17th 1982. There were others who entered after these but did not persevere, I entered on May 8th 1946 and was the third to persevere.

The Sisters made Altar Breads for their living and supplied the American service men with them while they were stationed in Auckland. The making of Altar Breads is still the Sisters means of livelihood to this day.

Kindly written by Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD