St Mary MacKillop’s Example.

This year (2020), Australia will celebrate the tenth anniversay of the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop. Let us reflect on Mary MacKillop’s characteristics and the features of her courageous life that gave her sainthood.

… Mary’s life had many valleys: she had to make decisions as to which path and which direction she would take.  Sometimes, she had no choice of direction, and then chose how she would react to the given circumstances.  There is evidence that she fought long and hard, both inside and out.  I think it important to equate her struggles and handling of them with our own lowly lives. Mary MacKillop has been declared a Saint, but who knows, had she not made a conscious decision to trust in her God-given journey and to the love the obstacles (crosses) with the same fervour as she loved the straight roads, we may not even be hearing about her now. Ita Buttrose, Absolute Faith, Reproduced in Mary MacKillop: A Tribute, 1996, p 21.

“Holiness, the heart of canonisation, consists in doing the will of God.  That is why in those last years of paralysis in her wheelchair Mary was far from being a ‘retired saint’.  She was a saint at her very best, because she was doing the will of God in most trying circumstances.  It is not achievement that makes saints, it is holiness.”  Paul Gardiner SJ 2010.


  • Mary endured many trials during her life.  Take time to name for yourself what you believe enabled her to rise above these obstacles;
  • What do you see as Mary’s saintly qualities that gave recognition to her as a saintly woman whom we recognize as a great example throughout the nation and indeed the world?
  • How does Mary MacKillop’s example help us to endure the obstacles in our daily life?

Spend some time in quietness and prayer thanking God for your own  and for God’s incredible care.

Michele Shipperley rsj


Candle image: Hands Open Candle by Myriams-Fotos obtained from Pixabay. Used with permission.