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Fresh look at Australian saint

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As the nation prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop on October 17, budding young artists from Tenison Woods Catholic School, Richmond, have produced their own unique visual interpretations of Australia’s first and only canonised saint.

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Named after Fr Julian Tenison Woods, who co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph with Mary, the school has a strong Josephite charism.

“At Tenison Woods Catholic School we acknowledge the friendship between St Mary and Fr Julian,” said Rita Campbell, assistant principal, Religious Identity and Mission.

“We understand the work they completed together to establish a Catholic education system for South Australia and we appreciate the strong charism that both bring to our school.”

The Year 5/6 students used quotes and images of Mary to see how she was represented in popular culture and how her work could continue to be reflected within the school.

Amiel said her picture of Mary, whose name she chose for her Confirmation, showed the saint “running towards the future”.

“Mary is an example for others and a saint for us to follow,” she said.

“When she was teaching and even now after her death, children follow her in their faith and with their learning.”

Olivia’s favourite artistic style is ‘anime’, a Japanese-style animation, and she used this to depict Mary holding the cross of her rosary beads because “Mary had a strong faith in Jesus and God”.

Rose said she used a well-known reference photo to support her drawing and tried to “capture the depth of her faith” in her eyes.

Ruby also said Mary MacKillop was her chosen saint for confirmation.

“I chose to draw her with a barn because of a book I read about her and the way she started her school in an old barn,” she said.

“I drew the long grass because when Mary MacKillop was working she was not the richest person ever and people could not cut the grass around the school. I did not use bright colours as the Sisters were poor and could not wear bright colours in their clothing – this was the request from Fr Julian.”

The Sisters of St Joseph have created commemorative prayers, videos and a global vigil to honour Mary throughout October, under the theme of Mary’s quote ‘Take fresh courage’.

The global vigil will be an hour of deep peace, prayer and reflection on Mary’s courage on October 16 at 8pm in local time. Groups can host their own celebration or participate online via the Sisters of Saint Joseph website www.sosj.org.au.

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