National Volunteer Week is held from 20 until 26 May 2019.

I wish to dedicate this article to all those who so generously volunteer at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney.

Many people come daily to Mary MacKillop Place as pilgrims to sit quietly in the chapel and to visit Mary’s tomb. Many share the hospitality of the Café and Shop as well as Tour the Museum.

Without the women and men who come here each day to volunteer in the various places where help is always needed, we would be unable to do the work that is required for our Pilgrims.

Each Volunteer has to be initiated into the Department in which they wish to work. This requires an Interview with the Volunteer Co-ordinator and the Department Manager who will take them through what is required.  All Volunteers must have a Working With Children Check Number.

Our volunteers are found in the:

Chapel: i) The Pastoral Carers sit at the back of the chapel and are available for those who wish to speak with them. We have 25 volunteers who are rostered weekly, fortnightly or monthly and ii) We have a number of volunteers who keep the Chapel, Tomb Area and reflection Room clean and tidy.

Café/Shop: is where the greater number of volunteers help out. We depend on their generosity to welcome and serve those who come in each day. Some days are busier than others, such as Wednesdays, the 8th of the Month and each Sunday after Mass.

Museum:  Each year we have a number of schools, Parish Groups, Probus Clubs and Senior Groups who book in regularly. Our dedicated Guides take them through the Museum sharing the Story of Mary MacKillop and showing them hospitality. Our Guides are trained and keep up to date with the many changes that occur during the year in the Museum. Volunteers also work with the Curator and Archivist.

Pastoral Care Office: This is where a lot of behind the scenes work takes place often generated by those who work in the Chapel. The answering of prayer requests by ‘phone is a very privileged role. The Recording of Novenas, typing prayer lists to put beside Mary’s tomb, replacing necessary supplies in the Chapel are just some of the roles required. Many of our Volunteers are kept busy by helping the Pastoral Care Staff do those jobs which require many hands. Our volunteers are generous, cheerful, loyal and greatly appreciated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph whom they serve.

On Mary MacKillop’s Feast Day on 8 August, all volunteers regardless of which days they normally attend are on hand to help out. This is a great witness of the work of our Volunteers who work here at Mary MacKillop Place throughout the year.

Marie McAlister rsj

Find out more about volunteering at Mary MacKillop Place

Visit the National Volunteer Week website


Photos provided by Sr Marie McAlister. Used with permission.