The monastery has grown with the years. In 1936 work was begun on the two-storied brick wing built according to the monastic plan, complete with arched cloisters, to provide for the developing community. The first New Zealand postulant, Letitia McClintock (Sister Marguerite of the Sacred Heart), had entered in 1934, to be followed by Mary Fitzgerald (Sister Mary of the Cross), in 1936.
Although vocations to the contemplative life are not as a rule numerous, one by one the cells were filled so that in 1950 a single brick wing was added to provide for the growing novitiate. The increase in numbers during this decade enabled the sisters to consider the possibility of making a foundation. At the invitation of Bishop Pearce of Western Samoa seven sisters with Mother Anne of Jesus as Prioress left Christchurch in 1959 to found a Carmel in Apia. This monastery, in its turn has been blessed with vocations, not only from Samoa itself but from Tonga and Wallis Island as well. In 2003, Samoa Carmel in its turn made a foundation on Wallis Island. The sisters of Christchurch regard it as a singular privilege to have been able to contribute by their Samoan foundation to the development of the Church in the South Pacific.
Over the years, the monastery with its tall belfry ringing out the hours of prayer during the day has become something of a landmark, and the pervading atmosphere of peace, inseparable from the contemplative life seems to reach beyond the high enclosure wall. Even passers-by on the busy highway running alongside the wall refer to the Carmel, set within its circle of trees, as “an oasis of peace” in a hectic world.
Meanwhile, the Carmelite nuns in their hidden life of prayer and immolation for the glory of God will continue to intercede for the pressing needs of the Church and the many people who come today, as they have all through the years, to ask for the support of their prayers.
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