Mary MacKillop in Austria

Since 2007, the Apostolic Sisters of the Family of Mary have been organising a four day Youth Meeting and this year, they chose St Mary MacKillop as their Patron.

This event coincided with Mary MacKillop’s Feast Day being held from 8 – 11 August in Kundl, Austria. Thirteen years ago, young Catholics from the Austrian state of Tyrol, had the desire to gather together young faithful people at a youth festival. This was the start of an extraordinary journey with incredible graces, which the Lord poured into the hearts of so many of those who attended these meetings.  Throughout the years, the fruits have been visible. Some youth have joined the priesthood or religious life, while others found their future spouse and eventually were married. It’s truly amazing how young people continually open their hearts to God and find strength in a new or renewed friendship with Him and also amongst each other.

The theme of this year’s meeting was taken from the verse Jn: 12,28, “Father, Glorify Your Name.” Approximately 200 young people from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Slovakia accepted our invitation and traveled to the beautiful little town Kundl, which is surrounded by mountains, to celebrate their faith. Amongst other things, Holy Mass, Adoration, conferences, testimonies, workshops, confession, sports, and the rosary, worked together to create a very special and holy atmosphere. God also blessed us with beautiful summer weather and much joy during this time.

Father Maximilian Maria Schwarzbauer, priest and missionary of the Community “Work of Jesus the High Priest,” spoke in his conferences about the fatherly love of God. His joy was truly contagious. It was no surprise that the resounding round of applause at the end of the meeting seemed to have no end.

Religious sisters of the missionary community “Family of Mary”, helped throughout the meeting with music, workshops and personal talks with the youth. They used their talents and gifts to spread the Good News and helped the young people to deepen their personal relationship with God.

One thing was very obvious at our meeting – we love the saints! During the last of couple years, Sr. Elisa Foidl, wrote seven beautiful musicals, each depicting the life of a different saint, including, Saint Gabriele Possenti, Blessed Charles of Foucauld, and Saint Don Bosco. These musicals were performed by the youth and were attended by adults, other youth, family members and the faithful from local parishes, thus allowing hundreds of people to witness God’s great work in the lives of the saints. The musicals have continued to be a great success.

At the beginning of each New Year, the team organizing the event, randomly draws a patron saint whom they ask to be their patron and intercessor for their summer meeting. This year, as we came together and asked the Lord for our patron saint, we were truly amazed, when we picked Saint Mary MacKillop, as we discovered that her memorial coincided with the first day of our meeting, 8 August. We know this is no coincidence and are so very grateful to God for this sign of His grace and love.

With Saint Mary MacKillop’s homeland being Australia, which is more than 20 hours by plane from our homeland of Austria, it is amazing how this saint has found a place in our hearts. Our two countries not only share similar names, Australia/Austria, but above all, a love and veneration of this truly amazing saint.

We send a big hello to all of you in Australia and unite ourselves with you in prayer, through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop.

Barbara Thielen
Member of the organisational team “Liebesiegt”

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Photos provided by Sr. Elisa Maria and Sr. Mary Nichole, Apostolic Sisters of the Family of Mary. Used with permission.