Mother Aubert fundraising fête, 1910

'At the Mother Aubert Fete, Newtown Park'; illustration from the Free Lance, 12 November 1910. That year, a series of fundraising events were held in Wellington to mark the 50th anniversary of Mother Mary Joseph Aubert’s arrival in New Zealand. The most exciting and well-attended of these was a fête held in Newtown Park. The attractions included theatrical performances, beauty and baby shows, fortune-tellers and tea kiosks. 'A bevy of young ladies' worked the crowd, selling cigars and cigarettes.[1]

To thank their supporters, the Home of Compassion hosted a garden party in Island Bay. Here the big talking point was the strange-looking sandwiches. 'Neither guests nor Sisters had ever seen anything like them before. The filling was chopped watercress, lettuce and chives. It looked like grass. One woman told the Sisters afterwards that she had said to her sister when she saw them: whatever is Mother Aubert giving us? Are they sandwiches made of grass? We’d better eat them anyway, for she’ll only make the sisters eat them if we don’t!'


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