Mother Cecilia Maher and her seven companions left St Leo’s Convent in Carlow, Ireland on 8 August 1849 in the early morning before the rest of the community were awake. Their travel to New Zealand took eight months, most of it on the little sailing ship, Oceania.
On leaving Carlow, Mother Cecilia Maher had written a letter to her St Leo’s community, “We shall be mutually praying, and though separated our hearts will be united; and after this dream of life we shall all, please God, meet from Pittsburgh, Ireland and New Zealand, we shall be all together in Heaven, please God.”