A woman ahead of her time

Celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March) is a great impetus for women around the globe to creatively and courageously encourage further, the growing surge for progress in the tussle for recognition and equality.

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Mary MacKillop’s Experience with Illness

Sculpture by Linda Klarfeld, located at Australian Catholic University, North Sydney NSW.

Recently I have heard our culture described as being ‘crippled with emotion and needing intensive care for hope’. There are many types of illness including, physical, emotional and psychological, pervading the environs that we mix in.

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Birth of Mary MacKillop – 15 January 1842

Birth site of Mary MacKillop in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

In 1891, during a worldwide depression, the people of Melbourne city suffered greatly. Those who were rich lost their investments, those who were poor lost their work, the poorest were homeless and slept on the streets. The Archbishop of Melbourne had a heart for the poor and he talked to Mary MacKillop, the new Josephite in his diocese, about his worries.

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Farewell to the Saint Mary MacKillop SuperCat

Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader.

With over 20 years’ service under her helm, the St Mary MacKillop SuperCat ferry recently enjoyed a suitable send-off on Sydney Harbour.

Over 50 sisters and staff from the Sisters of Saint Joseph gathered to say a special farewell to the vessel which was named in honour of Australia’s first saint. Launching from McMahon’s Point and hosted by NSW Transport, the final cruise was an opportunity for everyone to enjoy one last ferry ride before her ‘retirement’.

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Christmas from Mary MacKillop

St Mary MacKillop statue, Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney NSW.

While Covid continues to swirl around Australia, and its relative Omicron has joined in the spoiling, Australians are gaining new freedoms in time for Christmas. Borders are opening and we will be able to travel again. Families are planning to be with loved ones who have been apart for over two years.

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St Mary MacKillop – Our Australian Saint

Mary MacKillop 1890.

As a child, Saints were an important part of my world. As a community we celebrated our patrons and gazed with mysterious wonder at the beautiful statues that adorned our parish churches. We valued the holy pictures given for achievement or for special occasions, attended the weekly novena for Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and prayed earnestly to St Anthony to search and find our lost items.

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Life through Lockdown in Melbourne

Sr Rita Malavisi on filming “MacKa Moments”

I was two months away from completing the Institute of Religious Formation Program in Chicago (a live experience) when the global COVID pandemic hit, and Australia closed its borders. The inevitable decision to return to Melbourne ensued, having had only one day to pack.

Having Melbourne classified as the city in the world to be in the longest lockdown, wasn’t a category that I wanted Melbourne to be in. Defining Melbourne as “the most liveable city” was a title I could cope with.

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The Friendship of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods

Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop mural located at Mary MacKillop Memorial School, Penola SA.

Each year we recall Julian Tenison Woods on the 7 October anniversary of his death and laud his talents and deep spirituality. While Mary and the early sisters didn’t readily express their attachment to Julian’s eco-spirituality in writing, I am certain that his vision brushed off on them and that they shared his wonder at God’s creation.

We read that, “Mary took a broad view of his activities, not restricting her interests to his spiritual ministry. Her selection of quotations from his writings reveals not only his fine literary style and the variety of his interests, but also her own eye for colourful detail and the natural works of creation.” [1]  Mary, like Julian, enjoyed the outdoors and was a fine horse rider.

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