A formal decree approving St Mary of the Cross MacKillop as second patron of Australia has been received by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart.
The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Cañizares Llovera issued the decree on 15 January, 2013, in response to a request from the Archbishop Hart and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
While many Catholics in Australia already consider St Mary MacKillop as a patroness in this country, the formal process was initiated by the Australian Bishops who expressed the wish of the people of Australia for a further official recognition of Australia’s first canonised saint.
Archbishop Hart expressed his delight that the process has led to the confirmation of Mary MacKillop’s great example.
“In many ways, the process of officially naming her as a second patron was simply confirming what Australian Catholics already see, that the example and vision of Mary MacKillop is our modus operandi as a Church, particularly in our service of the poor and marginalised, and our commitment to Catholic education. This confirmation from the Holy See is most welcome”, he said.
The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the order founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, and all those associated expressed their delight and gratitude for the decree.
Sr Anne Derwin, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph said that this was another important honour for Australia’s first saint.
“We realise that since her canonisation many, many Australians have come to admire and appreciate her strong dedication to people in society, especially the most vulnerable, that they have a fair deal, that children receive education and love, and that every person is recognised and valued”, she said.
“We are all delighted and hope that Mary’s values of generosity, inclusion, kindness, commitment and reliance on God’s Providence and Goodness, become the hallmarks of our country.”