Reflecting on Mary MacKillop’s eventful life there is a realisation that she lived a type of nomadic existence.

Her grounded spiritual approach to life enabled her to travel to establish new foundations and to meet the needs of the sisters and the needs of the times. Her journeys took her to many parts of the continent by many means of transport. As a woman of this era she imbibed a remarkable knowledge of the land and the conditions that ordinary Australians endured.

Her journeys were always taken in the spirit of Joseph. Joseph experienced many journeys into the unknown. We think of his life as being hidden and silent, yet he was a strong man of his time seeped in faith and spirituality as he protectively and courageously took on this special role. We are grateful for his witness of the Incarnation, for ensuring a safe return to Nazareth, for searching for Jesus, for teaching his child and for preparing Jesus for the enormous ministry he was about to embark on. Pope Francis reminds us:

Yet God acts through events and people. Joseph was the man chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true “miracle” by which God saves the child and his mother. God acted by trusting in Joseph’s creative courage.Pope Francis, Patris Corde
Mary Cresp rsj expresses this remarkable influence with the following:
Mary MacKillop drew from Bethlehem-Joseph’s inability to provide out of his own resources for those he loved, a consciousness of our dependence on ‘Diving Providence’. This was a mark of her spirituality that permeated her whole life. Mary Cresp rsj, In the Spirit of Joseph, p.249
Further to this, the author goes on to speak about Mary MacKillop as witnessed by Australians.

…Many writers, artists and other social commentators, Christian or not, acknowledged that Josephite spirituality illustrates the earthy spirit of Australia.Mary Cresp rsj, In the Spirit of Joseph, p.251


  • Mary MacKillop drew great strength from St Joseph. Our foundress, leaning on the words of scripture reminds us to Go to Joseph? Perhaps St Joseph has an inspiration of us today.
  • Mary MacKillop was known for travelling the land. An image is often used of a woman with sleeves rolled up. Let her walk with you in your work and daily chores; call on her ecological stance that she shared with Julian and Joseph.
  • Through the intercession of Mary MacKillop and St Joseph ask for the courage you need to face whatever may come.

Michele Shipperley rsj


Image: Our Lady of Lourdes Church Parish Logo – Dorothy Woodward rsj, 2015.