New brew debuts at CompassionFest


The Presbyterian Church in Island Bay, Wellington, along with local community groups is putting on a festival from 4-7 October called CompassionFest, which celebrates the virtue of compassion through the life of Mother Aubert.

One of the events is Splendid Drop, a beer-tasting night at which Petal and Pestle, a Belgian Red Ale brewed in honour of Mother Aubert, is set to make a debut appearance.

Flavoured with rosehip, the ale takes inspiration from Aubert’s herbal remedies.

Brewing began about a month ago at Tuatara’s microbrewery and bar The Third Eye. Anglican Archdeacon of Wellington Stephen King stopped by to help add the hops.

While he’s Anglican, King said the work of Aubert and her Catholic sisters was in his “hood” and he wanted to add the hops.

Tuatara head brewer Carl Vasta and the Sisters of Compassion worked together to create the brew – everything from flavours to the name.

“The sisters are delighted the community is engaged. That’s part of the mission, to raise [Aubert’s] story,” King said.

The Compassion Soup Kitchen in Tory Street is the focus charity for the festival.

CompassionFest was officially opened on Sunday. A variety of events will take place from 4-7 October.

As well as the beer tasting evening that takes place on October 6, the programme includes:

  • Art exhibition
  • Reflective Taize service
  • Kidsfest
  • Children’s tour of the Home of Compassion
  • Virtual trip around Island Bay with the Historical Society
  • Pop-up soup kitchen
  • Combined church service
  • Compassion Mass
  • Native tonics workshop
  • Symposium with politicians on the subject “What has compassion to do with running the country?”

Suzanne Aubert (1835 – 1926) devoted her life to helping others. Her work took her from France to the Whanganui River and finally to Island Bay in Wellington.

Along the way, she founded a new Catholic congregation, cared for children and the sick, and documented her work in Māori, English and French.


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