The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane joins with the Sisters of St Joseph and the nation in welcoming the Vatican’s announcement confirming the second miracle of Blessed Mary MacKillop.
The verification and acceptance of two miracles is normally a precursor to an individual being declared a saint in the Catholic Church, however the ultimate decision and a decree on canonisation is still to be made
by Pope Benedict XVI.
If Blessed Mary MacKillop is to be canonized she will become the first Australian saint, marking an enormous honour for the religious order that she founded (The Sisters of St Joseph or ‘Josephites’) and
also the local church.
The Brisbane Archdiocese has its own historic connections to this remarkable woman, including the formation of four of her order’s very first schools in Queensland between 1869 – 1871. She lived for
a time in Brisbane and is likely to have worshipped at the first Cathedral (now St Stephen’s Chapel) as well as teaching in South Brisbane.
In mid-2009 the Pope assented to a request from Archbishop John Bathersby to make Blessed Mary MacKillop the patron of the Archdiocese.
With 2009 also marking the centenary of her death, a beautiful new image of Mother Mary of the Cross was commissioned from artist Christopher McVinnish, from which copies are to be framed and
displayed in parishes across the Archdiocese.
The President of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Archbishop Phillip Wilson, was overjoyed by the announcement overnight Australian time.
“It is always a great joy when the Church recognises in one of its members the creative,saving and sanctifying action of God at work amongst us,” he said.
“It is a particular joy for us in Australia that Mary MacKillop is to be formally recognised in this way.
“Mary MacKillop has quite rightly gained a reputation in recent times as ‘The Australian Peoples’ Saint’. Largely, this is because people can relate to her. She was one of us. Born in Melbourne, and fired by a
deep desire to serve God and to help alleviate the plight of the poor, Mary was an ordinary person who lived a holy life.
“Perhaps it is because of her down to earth nature that we relate to her so well. Mary MacKillop could be feisty and stubborn. She suffered terrible setbacks, discouragement and injustice and yet through all
of this her faith in God did not falter. Plagued by ill health for much of her life, she was still able to found a religious institute aimed at serving the poor, particularly in the field of education, which remains
a vibrant and active presence in the fabric of Australian life today.
“Mary MacKillop is to become a saint not only of the Australian people, but for the Australian people and indeed, for the world.
“Her motto of “Never see a need without doing somethingabout it” continues to call us forth to action. At a time when real heroes are in short supply, Mary MacKillop is a true inspiration. Her heroism is all
the more firm because it is built not on celebrity or sporting skill but on her love for Jesus Christ and a life of dedication to God and her fellow human beings.
“We look forward to the announcement of her canonisation with great hope and joy and invite all Australians to take part in the many events which will be planned around the nation to mark this historic
occasion,” he said.
Please feel free to visit the shrine to Blessed Mary MacKillop within St Stephen’s Chapel, next to the Cathedral (249 Elizabeth St), when you are next in the city.
Released by the Catholic Communications Office
December 20, 2009