A Message from Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader, Sisters of Saint Joseph.

Greetings for the feast of Saint Mary MacKillop (8 August).

As we join in celebrating Mary MacKillop’s feast this year, we are called to embrace the values that were at the heart of all she did. Her deep love for those she encountered along the journey of life came from knowing that she was the beloved of God. She was described by her Sisters as being a big-hearted woman whose love knew no boundaries.

Mary’s life continues to inspire people from all walks of life. A visit to the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel tells the story of those seeking comfort and assurance that in the end all will be well. People come bringing their joys and sorrows, their hopes and dreams to share with this woman of God.

Mary MacKillop’s presence was also experienced throughout the journey to the recent Plenary Council. Placed under her patronage with Mary Help of Christians, her spirit was with us as we searched together to hear what God was asking of us at this time. She herself sought that same guidance of the Spirit as she endeavoured to explain the necessity of the Institute to Monsignor Kirby in Rome.

Mary MacKillop brought a heart-centred church to the struggling communities of her time consoling sorrowing hearts, embracing hardships with compassion and educating thousands of children. Her deepest desire was that each one would be assured that the living God walked with them wherever life took them.

Her encouragement to the Sisters at a very difficult time for the fledging Institute to ‘take fresh courage’ is as pertinent today as it was then. In a troubled world let us hear her voice calling us to ‘take fresh courage’ as we work for justice and peace.

May we be clothed in her love as we celebrate her deep compassion, her courageous approach in difficult times, her passionate commitment to God’s mission and her deep spirituality.

May God who companioned Mary MacKillop in her life enfold you in love on this day. Happy feast day.

Sr Monica Cavanagh
Congregational Leader