Enjoy reading a Letter from Mary.

14 September 1869
J.M.J.

Convent of St Joseph

My dear sorrowing Mamma,

I feel that you are sorrowing and that you have been so and that in your moments of bitterest grief even I by my strange silence have added the sharpest pangs to it. But surely our good God and His dear Immaculate yet sorrowful Mother comforted you as they alone could do.

Mamma, the heart of your child is the same now as you every knew it to be – it feels for your lonely sorrows, your severe trials, and your many cares, yes, even more now than formerly, for imagination, I trust magnifies them and makes them appear greater than they really are. Surely they cannot be as great as I in moments of anxious thought for you sometimes think they are. But great or small – my own Mamma, you have not now to learn how to bear them patiently and even lovingly, considering Who He is that sends them all to you.
Oh! but my heart years to comfort you, yet cannot do it. Go to our good and merciful God, Mamma, and in His every holy Will, which you always taught me to revere and love, you will find your only rest.

It is not the will of God that I should often write to you. Nothing but the certainty of this could ever keep me silent. Then won’t you join me in humbly trying to submit to this ever blessed Will. So few give their wills entirely to God, but may we not try to be some of the few. You used to tell me to love the Will of God – and to submit to it in all things. Your words still often ring in my ears and I bless God that they were my Mother’s words to me. Ah! do not let sorrow and care dishearten you now – rather let such be a means of bringing you closer to the Cross, nearer to Jesus and our Sorrowful Mother. In her great and bitter sorrows, and in the cruel wrongs of our merciful Saviour, won’t you, don’t you dearest mamma, find rest.

Soon perhaps our Blessed Lord will be satisfied with all that you have suffered for love of Him and He may wish to take you to your true and lasting rest with Him. Oh! what a sweetly happy day that will be for you if you will but suffer lovingly and patiently all that is first sent to prepare your soul for it. Have you not often told me that God loved the souls He tried most. Well then, my own Mamma, think of that still when your weight of sorrow and care seems more than you can bear.

Will you do one thing for me, if you have not already done it – join the confraternity of Mount Carmel, and become the true and devoted child of our Immaculate Mother. I enclose a scapular for you – worked by Sister Francis Xavier – Blanche Amsinck that was. This is the month of our Immaculate Mother’s Dolorous Heart, her month of Sorrows. Won’t you unite all your sorrows to hers and through her to the desires of the Sacred Heart of her Son? Ah, yes, my own Mamma, you will do more even. You will endeavour to meet them with at least cheerful resignation, that first and then love for them will follow.

I am but a poor consoler at best, and any effort to succeed in doing so seems vain when writing to you. May God Himself then comfort you and so draw your heart to Himself that you will always lean on Him alone, and prepare in earnest by the path of suffering which He leaves you in, for your eternal rest with Him.

Poor Papa had his time of humiliation and sorrow. So also had John, young as he was – but both are now happy with their God and longing I am sure for the time when you can join them. We must all try to get there. Oh! Mamma, try by every means to make my sisters and poor Peter think less of this miserable world and be more in earnest in their pursuit of the next.

I am sorry Donald is so careless about writing – indeed I am surprised he has not written to you, for I saw him about two months ago at Seven Hills, when he promised me faithfully that he would write and that regularly in future to you. He was to have done the same to myself from time to time. Of one thing I can sure you – he is a warm-hearted generous boy – though still too careless in many things – I mean only with regard to letter writing to yourself and Uncle Donald, for certainly he should not neglect that. He was aware of this fault and determined to repair it. In every other respect his conduct, his progress and the character given to me of him by the Father Superior, and other Fathers as well, was more than satisfactory. I could only silently try to thank the Infinite Goodness of God in making him what he was.

This letter is incomplete………………

 

The letter provided is the tenth letter from a collection, edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor, of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora.

This book can be purchased at:

Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop
7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au 

Enjoy reading a Letter from Mary.

30 September 1869 – Portland – Flora MacKillop to Father Woods & his reply 08 October 1869

My dear Father Woods,

I duly received your very welcome letter and altho’ there is a very long time since I had this pleasure, I never for one moment put but the true construction on your silence, your time being so much occupied and there being nothing particular to write about. In the event of my getting Mary’s share of her late Aunt’s money, you may rest assured that I will always be willing to do my best to lessen the debts that have so long helped to undermine my constitution. The Penola debt was a very large one, but the Portland ones are a very long time due; when I last saw Mary, she said she could not take any Vows until they were settled; in less than two months afterwards, she felt so happy as a religious, as this responsibility was taken off her shoulders.

Long before I knew she was so soon to leave the world, she wrote me wishing me to see those here who had sent their bills to her and ask them not to press, as she hoped that about the end of this year some satisfactory arrangement would be made.

I cannot help thinking that if you knew the amount of them you would not have encouraged her to so soon take the step she did; however, the best must now be made of it. When I was left all alone here, through the money I got weekly from my gentlemen boarders, I was enabled to pay for the household expenses as they became due. Besides Trangman and Finn, there was due at Crouch’s £39, Marriotts £15, Bedford and Jones £10, Dr Brewer £28, Baker and Butcher of course, and many smaller ones under £5, as also rent and wages. I have been refused meat and bread unless I paid so much of the old accounts, indeed several threatened to take me to court. All this I concealed from Mary as I felt the poor girl was overtired.

When Peter found that I was left so lonely, he and others took it upon themselves to send me at different times money that my late Father-in-law left for charities; indeed, they needed have no scruple regarding it. Of this and money received otherwise, I gave Trangman £15, Dr Brewer £11, and paid the most pressing of the smaller ones.

Had it pleased God to have spared John, he was to help me, indeed it was with part of £5 he sent me that I paid for Mary and Lexie’s fare to Casterton twelve months after they left. My health has not been good this winter. I sometimes felt as if Death was beginning to knock at the door and that I should have made a clear statement of how I was left. Perhaps only this, I would not now do so. Notwithstanding all I have come through, I find I am too sanguine. I thought I would be able to clear many of those debts. Now after four years striving, I find them much as they were with the exception of what, through the Melbourne money, I paid. So, dear Fr Woods, you can hardly blame me for giving way to lowness of spirits.

When first we heard of Mrs McPherson’s death, we were told that she quite overlooked my family; my feelings were anything but Christian ones. Another time we were told that £100 would be their share, but now I am happy to tell that they are to have £49/6/-. I am happy to tell you that £10 would clear my own debts, this after a winter I have had to pay high for provisions, but to enable me live there, I gave up my room and lived chiefly in the kitchen; besides, I lost for the present £22 by Goldstein, and am very irregularly paid sometimes. Before summer is over I may hope to be clear again.

I am aware, when Mary went to Penola, you kindly advanced her £30. Of this she sent £19 to Trangman. I sent a quantity of useful furniture as well as beds and bedding – the piano she sold and sent something over £20 to Finn. Now considering that all and every particle of furniture is gone, how I know not, but this I think, there must have been gross mismanagement when there was such a debt incurred there, and all Annie earned went to pay some of them off.

The ending of this letter is unclear……………..

8 October 1869 – Adelaide – Father Woods to Flora

My dear Mrs MacKillop,

I write to you in great haste to beg that you will dispose of Sister Mary’s portion of her Aunt’s legacy in any way that you may think fit.

Of course I did not understand much about the state of affairs in Penola after I left, but I am sure that she could not have cleared off the debts by remaining there as she was only getting deeper and deeper into debt the longer she remained.

At any rate I feel very much for you in your trials and sorrows and hope that whatever happens you will desire only to do God’s holy will.

I agree with you perfectly in thinking that you are not long for this world but that is no sad news to any one. Have great confidence in God especially in the sorrows of our most sweet Mother Mary for her love can do more than the thought of death. God is very good to us in letting us use our sorrows as preparations for meeting Him.

Don’t trouble about this world. God will always take care of you and wishes you to think of Him alone. Ask Him to detach you from the world and ask both for yourself and for me the grace to love more and more our most sweet and Immaculate Mother.

Yrs most sincerely
J E Tenison Woods

 

The letter provided is the ninth letter from a collection, edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor, of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora.

This book can be purchased at:

Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop
7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au 

Enjoy reading a Letter from Mary.

7 January 1868 – Adelaide
J.M.J.
Convent of St Joseph

My dearest Mamma,

May our Blessed Lord Himself be your Comforter in this new and severe trial. He has taken our dear John, but ah, how thankful we should be to know that the poor boy’s death was so holy and happy a one. How different would be our feelings had it been otherwise. My one constant prayer for those I love is that, no matter how He is pleased to try them during this weary life, God in His mercy may grant them a happy death and give them that happiness in the next world which He knows would not be good for them in this.

Let us not mourn for John. We may safely hope that he is not far from his loving Redeemer. His wishes were always good and his life innocent. You have not got him to comfort and take care of on earth but from Heaven he and our little Alick will watch over you and all of us I trust.

I only heard this last night, and today our Father Director and Father Smyth offered up the Holy Sacrifice for the dear departed. Poor Father Woods shrank from telling me, and feels keenly for you. But confide in the mercy of God as you have always done. My heart is sore on your account, more so now then ever. God’s holy will be done. Lean on Him, resign yourself to Him. Oh Mamma, let us belong to Him completely and He will take care of us all. Remember what poor Uncle Sandy said to Grandmamma a short time before his death when he reminded her that God would take care of all. How often she used to repeat his saying to me. I am going to write to Papa and Annie tonight. Poor Papa, he will need all our consolation. May God comfort him.

This is a sad world. The only way we can make it happy is by resigning ourselves entirely into the hands of God, to do and suffer all he permits, and let us try find this peace by a cheerful conformity to His holy Will. Please read the 50th chapter of the Third Book of the Imitation – it used to be one of my favourites and will always be. Cling to that dear book. You were the first to make me love it and I hope it always serve to keep you near our Blessed Lord. I would be anxious about you if I dared distrust the infinite Mercy of our Blessed Lord. I always bring you to Him and ask Him to take (care) of the mother who was so good to me. Be happy in the thought that I am trying to please and serve Him, and that you were the one who, by your teaching and example, made me anxious for this holy life.

Write to me, please dear Mamma, write. Remember that I love you and feel for your sorrows perhaps more keenly than ever.

I hope Father McNab is still in Portland. He will help to cheer you, but you are otherwise lonely indeed. Poor Goldstein is a sincere and kind friend. Remember me to him. And now, my own dear Mamma and little Peter, goodbye. May our Holy Mother, whose sorrows were so great, obtain for you the peace and consolation I desire for you.

I will always be your loving and grateful child in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Mary of the Cross

 

The letter provided is the eighth letter from a collection edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora.

This book can be purchased at:

Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop
7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au 

Enjoy reading a Letter from Mary.

24 November 1867 – Adelaide
J.M.J.

My dearest Mamma,

You are punishing me for my long delay in answering your last letter, but if you are well and your mind happy, I have cause to be thankful indeed. I never have cause to be anything else.

My Father Director has given me permission to write once a month to you – ‘tis now five weeks since I last wrote, and if my poor letters can give you any comfort, you shall, please God, have them regularly in future. My love and feeling for you have not cooled. I remember all the past but cannot grieve, nor can I when I think of your present lonely position, for at the same time I think of our dear, good and merciful God who has so honoured you and me, and it seems to me but a very poor offering I have to make Him when I lay your loneliness and sorrow before Him and beg of Him to accept my poor heart in spite of its unworthiness, and to be Himself your sweet and only Comforter.

Oh Mamma, if you but knew what the Sisters of Saint Joseph ought to be, and can be, too, if they but correspond with the graces they receive, you would rejoice more and more every day that you have one child amongst them and you would try to send another too. Now I suppose you will shake your head at this, but never mind, I am sure you won’t resist God’s Holy Will, and when the proper time comes, I hope dear Lexie will come too, but it will be sooner than you think, at least I hope so.

Did Peter like his letter? The poor child must have thought I had forgotten him. I cannot write more, for ‘tis time to go to bed – and I have not permission to sit up. You know I have to obey our holy Rule to the letter. Pray, my own dear Mamma, that I may have the grace to do so.

Monday morning – Father Woods is going to the North today and will see Donald. The poor boy will also think I am neglecting him – but when I know he is well, I do other things instead of writing to him. Give John my love when you write, and please tell him that, though I am a poor Nun at last, he may write to me.

Fond love to yourself and pray, dear Mamma for
Your affectionate child in J.M.J.
Mary of the Cross – Sister of St Joseph

Please write to me, and give Papa my love – ask him to write too.

 

The letter provided is the seventh letter from a collection edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora.

This book can be purchased at:

Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop
7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au 

Enjoy reading a Letter From Mary

 Mary MacKillop was the most extraordinary communicator and often felt that she could communicate more effectively through her writing.

The letter provided in PDF format below is the 2nd letter from a collection edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora. Mary MacKillop and Flora.

This book can be purchased at: Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop

7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au 

Enjoy Reading a Letter from Mary

Mary MacKillop was the most extraordinary communicator and often felt that she could communicate more effectively through her writing.

The letter provided in PDF format below is the first letter from a collection edited by Sr Sheila McCreanor of letters between Mary and her Mother Flora.

Mary MacKillop and Flora

This book can be purchased at:

Mary MacKillop Place Museum Shop
7 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia

PO Box 1081
North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia

Tel: +(61 2) 8912 4894
Fax: +(61 2) 8912 4835
Email: mmp.shop@sosj.org.au
Website: www.marymackillopplace.org.au

 

Download the first letter from the book (PDF)