Volunteering at Mary MacKillop Place, Mount Street, North Sydney.
Arriving at the Business Centre of North Sydney the scene is one of a busy working environment. Cars, buses and people going many ways to engage in their daily duties to serve the community. A short walk up the hill of Mount Street we arrive at Mary MacKillop Place.
We have come upon a quiet place in a busy environment. The Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the life and work of Australia’s first Saint, Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods, who along with Mary co-founded the religious order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The story of Mary’s work in founding a religious order in Australia outlines the many qualities that give people hope in today’s world. Mary showed great faith, courage, perseverance, loyalty and dedication to a worthy cause as she encountered many obstacles and even rejection of her vision for the future.
A visit to the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel is an experience of calm and peace. Many visitors come each day to this sacred place of prayer and pilgrimage –some as tourists from overseas, others to ask for help through Mary’s intercession for the needs in their lives. The tomb of Saint Mary MacKillop is present in the chapel and patrons can kneel and pray in the peace of God’s presence.
As a volunteer in both the Museum and the Chapel, I enjoy sharing the story of how Mary achieved her vision with the help of Julian and letting others know that it was Mary’s trust in God that kept her strong. There are over 100 volunteers at Mary MacKillop Place, and we work in many different areas of the complex. As well as being tour guides in the Museum, others volunteer in the Café and Gift Shop assisting with the preparation of food and coffee and serving tables. Some volunteers help in the Chapel where they provide a ministry of listening for people who wish to share their stories or who are seeking prayers through the intercession of Mary MacKillop. Volunteers also assist in administrative tasks, IT, marking and sorting stock for the Café and many other miscellaneous tasks.
I became a volunteer because I wanted others to be aware of the great work of our first Australian Saint and to let people know how the virtues of Mary MacKillop can help us find peace in living our lives. With a large group of volunteers, we have the opportunity to form friendships and exchange information which helps us fulfill our roles. Mary MacKillop Place is certainly a place of peace and tranquility and along with all the other volunteers it is my privilege to be able to contribute to keeping the legacy of Mary MacKillop and the Sisters alive in today’s world. Unfortunately during this Coronavirus Pandemic we are unable to perform our usual duties, but are grateful to be kept connected through regular inspirational messages being sent to all the volunteers.