St Mary MacKillop’s Sisters Say Thanks to Australia and the World
Mary MacKillop has become Australia’s first saint and the congregation of religious sisters she co-founded, The Sisters of Saint Joseph, are expressing their thanks to people around the world for the enthusiasm they have shown in the canonisation.
Acting Secretary General of the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Monica Cavanagh, says the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop of the Cross is a truly global event.
“We have sisters in Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Ireland, Scotland, Brazil and East Timor but we know that people in many other countries are also fascinated by the life and work of this truly Australian woman. We are overwhelmed with the response,” says Sr Monica.
Over 15,000 people travelled to Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney, the mother house of the Sisters of St Joseph, with crowds of pilgrims prayed at the tomb of Mary MacKillop.
“The tomb of Mary MacKillop is a place of pilgrimage for countless people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. It is impossible to stereotype a pilgrim to Mary MacKillop Place.
“If you had to identify what they all have in common, it would be the inspiration they find in the life of Mary MacKillop to help them in their own lives.”
As well as Mary MacKillop Place and St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, celebrations were held in all state and territory capitals, as well as the South Australian town of Penola, where Mary MacKillop established her first school under the guidance of Fr Julian Tennyson Woods.
A special feature of the day was the television broadcast of the canonisation ceremony from Rome, on large screens at locations around Australia. The ceremony in Rome was presided over by Pope Benedict XVI, with Sisters of St Joseph and other Australians involved in the ceremony.
Sr Monica Cavanagh has also paid tribute to the regional centres that organised celebrations for Mary MacKillop’s canonisation.
“We are so appreciative of the countless small towns and communities that have held their own celebrations. These are the places where Sisters of St Joseph have worked in the past or still work, supported by local people inspired by Mary MacKillop.
“Many of our sisters themselves come from those regional communities and the bonds are very strong.”
Mary MacKillop may now be now formally known as Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop but in Australia, most will refer to her simply as Saint Mary MacKillop.
“We certainly don’t mind if people just call her Mary MacKillop. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind one bit,” says Sr Monica.