A crowdfunding page has been set up and public events are being planned as organisers strive to raise the money needed to update the museum on the grounds of Mary’s original Josephite convent at Kensington.
According to Samela Harris, who is helping the Joeys with the fundraising project, the museum will offer a “sophisticated, educational, enlightening and entertaining” experience, and in the spirit of Mary will “educate with the best knowledge and tools of the time”.
“It will have wonderful new exhibition designs and special relics of Mary, including her desk that is going to be somehow suspended,” she said. “There will be a cast maquette of the life-size bust of Mary by Judith Rolevink and other personal Mary relics, some of which have been shared from Sydney.”
The museum will serve to describe her era and tell her story – and that of the nuns who did and are still doing her extraordinary work.
While the new museum will be an important stop for religious pilgrims wanting to honour the ‘saint for all Australians’, it will also have wide appeal to the secular community, including teachers, students and modern feminists.
“A lot of people think that Mary is just someone to do with the Catholic Church, but once they know about her they realise she was strongly involved with the entire development of education in this country,” Ms Harris explained.
“She stands as an extraordinary, feisty, feminist, enlightened, egalitarian, humanitarian… an exceptional person.”
A respected journalist in her own right, Ms Harris is the daughter of Max Harris, a high profile columnist and commentator of his day who was an ardent champion of the Mary MacKillop cause well before she became a saint in 2010.
While their family was not Catholic, Ms Harris said thanks to her father, Mary had been a strong influence for her throughout her life.
“I grew up with his love for Mary MacKillop instilled in me. She was and is a fabulous role model.”
Coordinator of the project Sr Mary Ryan rsj said all donations to the Mary MacKillop Museum Adelaide will be used for the building fit-out, technology, display facilities and air-conditioning.
“This will be a place of reflection and inspiration – for Adelaidians and visitors from everywhere,” she said.
All donors will have their names recorded on a moving honour roll in the building.
To make a donation contact Sr Mary Ryan on 8130 5900.
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