It’s a pleasant 60 min drive up the River Road from Whanganui to Jerusalem. Our local Camera Club visited there recently and were graciously hosted at St Joseph’s church by Sister Christina of the Sisters of Compassion. If you are unaware of the history of the church in Jerusalem the Whanganui tourist office says:
Jerusalem, Hiruhārama in Māori, is a tiny settlement 66 kilometres up the Whanganui River Road. It was originally called Patiarero and was one of the biggest settlements on the Whanganui River in the 1840’s with several hundred Ngāti Hau inhabitants of the iwi Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi. Many Whanganui River settlements were given new place names by Reverend Richard Taylor in the 1850’s.
Jerusalem Whanganui was an isolated site where, in 1892, Suzanne Aubert (known as Mother Mary Joseph) established the congregation of the Sisters of Compassion. They became a highly respected charitable nursing and religious order.
Also established was the Jerusalem Foundling Home in 1886 which housed and cared for abandoned children from around New Zealand. A convent remains in Jerusalem as well as the Church where the Sisters of Compassion still care for the buildings and the history of the site
We stopped for the river views on the way and a brief look at the Kawana Flour Mill before spending a lovely few hours in and around the Church and Convent taking lots of photos before heading home.