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New statue depicts Mary on the move

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A new statue of St Mary MacKillop by renowned local artist Judith Rolevink will be unveiled in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral to mark the 10th anniversary of her canonisation.

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Mrs Rolevink sculpted the much-loved statue of Mary holding hands with two children commissioned by the Adelaide Archdiocese for Mary MacKillop Plaza, Victoria Square.

The new one-metre coloured bronze statue is the seventh of 10 limited editions and depicts Australia’s first saint as a woman in her early thirties.

The Adelaide Cathedral parish received donations from the Altavilla Irpina Club and San Pellegrino Martire Committee for the artwork which will be installed near the cathedral sanctuary in an alcove where a portrait of the saint now hangs.

Committee member Dominic Reppucci said the Altavilla Irpina migrant community, whose own patron saint San Pellegrino is honoured at an annual festa at Hectorville parish in January, had a close connection to Mary MacKillop through its presence in the Norwood-Kensington area where she established her convent.

“Saints are a very important part of our faith and since Mary MacKillop is the first Australian saint we wanted to do something to remember her legacy,” Mr Reppucci said.

Mrs Rolevink said the half-size statue was “Mary as I imagine her, on the go, fitting all the hours she can into her day, visiting schools and guiding her band of Sisters to work hard too”.

“She is striding out to reach her next port of call, to advise and instruct, or to organise the next new school. Her day is endless, always on the move.

“I see in Mary a driven spirit, someone who is overflowing with ideas of what is needed to help this young Australia and educate all children, advantaged and disadvantaged.

“She could see the advantages of taking charge and organising education through a band of dedicated women living and travelling to country towns and cities.”

Mrs Rolevink said Mary was a powerful influence on “so many people”.

“My role is to help spread Mary’s deeds by way of depicting her in sculpture as a kind and driven spirit, motivated by her love of Christ to teach, organise and band together her Sisters for the good of mankind,” she said.

“I see her as one who could not leave work undone, including feeding the poor, by asking anyone to help her to give food daily.

“I see her as a powerhouse of work, ideas and energy with great single mindedness to help whoever she could.”

The statue will be unveiled and blessed by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan at 10am on Saturday October 17.

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