Let 2010 be the year of Mary MacKillop
A second miracle has been confirmed for Mary MacKillop, and she is now on her way to becoming Australia’s first saint in 2010.
But who was she?
Mary MacKillop’s was a life of struggle and passion that was underpinned by integrity.
She embraced and commanded the virtues of all significant men and women who inspire faith in their followers, who believe in self-sacrifice, and commit themselves to the underprivileged, the vulnerable and the voiceless.
South Australia’s Mary was a rebel who refused to compromise her principles.
She fought for right, time and time again, and opposed the moral fixity of the Victorian era, the unforgiving harshness and small-mindedness of rural Australia and its metropolitan hypocrisy, and the inflexible power of the Church’s conservative hierarchy.
It could, indeed, be said that her story is a quintessentially Australian one.
Mary MacKillop was a survivor, a pragmatist, a fighter, a deeply driven woman whose motivation was her work, and whose nourishment was her faith.
Like history’s most towering figures, Mary MacKillop also bore flaws that reassure us she was – after all – human.
In the course of her life’s work, she made enemies, she alienated friends, and she divided church communities.
She endured the harshest of punishments – excommunication from the Church to which she had devoted her life.
On occasions, her single-mindedness was interpreted as stubborn pride.
Her naivety in matters financial and political threatened, at various times, to undermine her life’s quest.
And her unwillingness to accept other leadership alternatives meant she, again and again, would drain her physical and mental resources to keep her dream alive.
But hers was not a dream of self-aggrandisement, personal wealth or earthly power.
Her mission was to give comfort and solace to the poor, education to the disenfranchised, and hope to society’s forgotten underclass in the streets and parks of Adelaide, Norwood and Port Adelaide; in the rural communities of South Australia’s mid-north and south-east; in the inner-city tenements of Sydney and Brisbane.
She worked relentlessly, and travelled tirelessly to support and supervise the operation of the Josephite Order – the “Brown Joeys” - throughout South Australia, around the nation, and in New Zealand.
The times when she opposed authority, when she forged her own path, when she battled her own self-doubt, her failing health and spiritual despondency, she did so to secure the survival and prosperity of her work.
Her one abiding constant in sickness, health, success and personal misery was her unswerving, unshakeable belief in God and the mission he had given her.
In Mary MacKillop, we see – embodied in shining, heavenly raiment - the pioneering Australian spirit, our nation’s unflagging ideals of egalitarianism, social justice and neighbourly kindness, and the triumph of the human spirit over power, prejudice and bigotry.
Hers is a life to be celebrated, and learned from.
Mary MacKillop’s elevation to sainthood will constitute the ultimate validation of her work, and provide inspiration, joy and thankfulness among her disciples and her admirers throughout Australia, and around the world.
Now, our Mary belongs to the ages.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…