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Celebrating Australia’s first saint

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Australia’s first saint would never have imagined that her life would have provided so much inspiration for others, worshippers at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral heard when they attended her feast day celebrations on August 8.

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Australia’s first saint would never have imagined that her life would have provided so much inspiration for others, parishioners at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral heard when they attended her feast day celebrations on August 8.

Addressing the congregation following midday Mass, Sr Mary Ryan RSJ, coordinator of Mary MacKillop Precinct in Kensington, spoke of the letter Mary wrote to the Sisters in March 1891 – just 25 years after the Josephites’ humble beginnings in Penola.

In the letter, Mary wrote ‘little did either of us ever dream of what was to spring from so small of beginning. God has done wonders for us’.

Sr Mary Ryan rsj

“Mary would not have dreamed that in 2018 the Josephite Sisters would be living a ministry in all states of Australia and in six other countries; that three Popes would have visited her tomb; that in 2010 she would become Australia’s first canonised saint, with 8000 Aussies going to Rome to celebrate this; that in recent times governors, premiers, parliamentarians and prime ministers would have spoken of, or written about her; that most Australian churches and cathedrals would have her image enshrined in a prominent place,” Sr Mary said.

“In 1891 how would have Mary ever imaged that in 2018 there would be numerous parishes, schools, colleges, buildings, parks, bridges and even a Sydney ferry and tourist bus called after her… and that she would provide inspiration for authors, poets, songwriters, film makers, musicians, artists, potters and lead lighters and all kinds of memorabilia.”

Sr Mary took the opportunity to outline the work of Mary MacKillop Today, the foundation that “makes a huge difference in the lives of the less fortunate in Australia and five other countries”.

She also spoke of the current redevelopment of the Mary MacKillop Precinct in Kensington which includes upgrading the museum to a “contemporary, interactive and inspirational” place to engage people of all ages with the story of St Mary MacKillop.

To learn more about the redevelopment and support fundraising efforts, go to www.marymackillopadelaide.org.au or contact Sr Mary Ryan: mary.ryan@sosj.org.au or 0409 023 331.

 

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