Euphrasie Barbier is the Foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions RNDM (sometimes called the Mission Sisters) whose congregation founded many Catholic schools in New Zealand, including St Columba’s Catholic School.
Euphrasie was born at Caen, Normandy, France on 4 January 1829. She was the child of Louis-Desire Barbier, a shoe maker, and his wife Jeanne Adele Le Cler. She worked for a time as a laundress before entering religious life.
Euphrasie was a woman of strong personality, determined to maintain her independence to develop and direct her institute free of detailed supervision by local bishops. The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions made a major contribution to both Maori and European education in New Zealand. Eight houses were founded in Christchurch in 1868 and Nelson in 1871, and a New Zealand novitiate established in Christchurch in 1873. A school of Maori girls was established at Napier in 1867, as well as houses at New Plymouth, Ashburton, Pukekohe, Hamilton and Opotiki.