During 1899 in response to an appeal from Bishop Julien Vidal, our Foundress Suzanne Aubert offered to send Sisters of Compassion to Fiji. Unfortunately, the Bishop’s reply sent to her through the intermediary of Archbishop Redwood was not delivered, and the new apostolate planned was given to another group. Forty-six years later, during March 1945, Bishop Foley invited the Sisters of Compassion to establish a Home of Compassion in Fiji but it was not until the 21 May 1949 that the Sisters accepted the Bishop’s invitation to work in Fiji. The Sisters moved into Chanel Home of Compassion – Fiji on the 14 April 1952.
Sisters Celestine Frazer and Perpetua Lavery arrived to begin the mission of nursing elderly women. At the time there was also a need for the care of children with disabilities and six of these young people, now in their 60s -70s are still residents in the Home.
The Chanel Home of Compassion – Fiji is located at 270 Princess Road in Tamavua, Suva. The present site and old house was purchased from Sir Hugh and Lady Ragg, where thirteen residents and four Sisters lived. In 1970, a large donation from Sir Morris and Lady Hedstrom enabled a new ward to be built for twenty-four residents. It was a new wing comprising about six wards.
Further buildings were added in 1985 to provide a Convent Kitchen and Chapel when the old house was demolished. During the past decade, these buildings have been completely renovated and two new wings, service rooms and an administration area have been added to allow for thirty residents. The funding for the buildings has come from New Zealand and Australia, while we have applied to local and overseas charities for hospital beds and other medical equipment.