We invite you to pray with St Mary MacKillop – a prayer written by our Irish Sisters of Saint Joseph…
World Youth Day (WYD) is an international event for young Catholics. This year, WYD took place in Lisbon, Portugal from 1-6 August.
I was blessed to be one of the estimated 1.5 million pilgrims who gathered for the event. I travelled to WYD with the Sydney Archdiocese, and then completed most of the pilgrimage with the Maronite Catholic Youth.
A Message from Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader, Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Let us rejoice in the gift of Mary MacKillop to our Church and our world as we celebrate her feast day.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that “towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.” (28:1) Earlier we had been told that, after Joseph of Arimathea had placed the body of Jesus in a new tomb and sealed it, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb”. (27:61)
Now, there are so many Marys in the Gospels that one scholar even suggested that Mary was not a name but a title given to a number of women in the New Testament, signifying a particular function in the early Christian community. Whatever about that, there is a certain mystery about “the other Mary” who figures at the end of Matthew’s Gospel.
By metaphoric leap and midrashic application, I want to apply it to St Mary MacKillop, since we begin to understand her if we see that she, like any other of the saints, is a saint precisely because she is a witness of the Resurrection; she was and is a woman who sat and sits “opposite the tomb”, a woman who went and still goes “to see the tomb”.
In going to see the tomb, we are told, the two Marys meet an angel who says to them, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.”
We know that a saint is someone whose life is lived in intimate union with God, and for God, accepting God’s will in all events of life. (One’s life is examined to be considered worthy by the Church to be honoured and imitated). This is what Mary tried to do throughout her 67 years of life, and she also urged her mother Flora to be a saint. Living holy lives would seem to be in the DNA of the MacKillop family, as their lived history demonstrates.
How do Mary MacKillop’s virtues and values inspire the happenings of everyday life?
Sr Margaret Mary Sexton wrote:
In our world of instant news and information, we are constantly confronted by stories that judge other people. Our media, including social media, gives us conclusions without much examination of facts.
To celebrate 150 years since Mary MacKillop embarked on her first overseas journey (March 1873 – December 1874), the Sisters of Saint Joseph share reflections and details from Mary’s travels to and from Europe – sourced from Mary’s letters and Congregational Archives.
When we celebrated Easter week earlier this year, we were powerfully reminded of pain, isolation and fear all embodied in the women who went to the tomb. The Angel told them “Do not be afraid!” Their pain gave way to hope and, later, joy when they knew that Jesus had risen and visited them.
I was drawn then to read again the excerpts from Mary MacKillop’s diary from August to mid-October 1873. Mary had been in Rome to endeavour to have the Constitutions for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart approved. The revised Constitutions were eventually completed with the assistance of several priests in Rome and sent to Pope Pius IX for approval. It was expected that the process would take quite some time.