Monte Cecilia House in Hillsborough, Auckland was established in 1982. The Sisters of Mercy and Marist Brothers responded to a call from the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to house homeless families. As a consequence of a shortage of decent housing, homelessness was becoming an increasing social problem. Monte Cecilia House provided emergency housing and practical assistance to hundreds of families with such a housing need.
“The Big House” was originally known as the Pah Farm. It was designed by an Auckland architect, Thomas Mahoney, in the late 1870s for prominent business man, James Williamson.
After a number of owners the house became the convent of the Sisters of Mercy in 1911. The House was named in memory of the leader of the first Sisters of Mercy to come to Aotearoa New Zealand - Cecilia Maher. The kakano, or seed, of this initiative began with the karanga of wahine Maori and led to the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in 1850 from Carlow, Ireland at the invitation of Bishop Pompallier. The emergency housing service was in constant demand.
In 1989, the Monte Cecilia House Trust was established and services expanded to respond to the growing need of low income families for housing assistance throughout the Auckland region.