This new book focuses on the Virtues of Mother Mary MacKillop.
A book has just been published on the Christian virtues of Mother Mary MacKillop, now Saint Mary of the Cross. It is not a biography, but rather a character portrait, tracing the outline of the virtues exemplified all through her life. Its focus is on Mary MacKillop the person and disciple of Jesus Christ, rather than on the many works she undertook.
It was written by the late Fr Paul Gardiner S.J., the Postulator of the cause for her canonisation, and was presented to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1989, along with the two-volume work which contains her official biography, and since published as The Life of Saint Mary of the Cross, Mary MacKillop 1842-1909 (Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2015).
The present text, printed privately in 1989 and now accessible to all, reveals that Saint Mary practised the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, in a manner that was not simply noteworthy but indeed heroic.
Tested by pressures of life that would have shown up anything counterfeit or superficial, Saint Mary’s living of the virtues was rock solid throughout the many storms that beset her personally and the institution and works that she founded.
Shortly before the Process of Canonisation opened, some senior Sisters were asked by the Mother General to write what they remembered of Saint Mary. Many of them wrote that they remembered the person more than her works. They couldn’t remember everything she did, but they remembered her. As Sister Mechtilde wrote:
I think the reason the Sisters looked on her with veneration was because of her virtues more than her works. I think that the respect that was shown to her by the outside world was because of her personal virtue.
After labouring through a page of writing, one elderly sister, Sr Genevieve, felt it was time to sum up: I am sorry dear Mother that I cannot relate other incidents completely except that our dear Mother was good humble charitable and kind to all.
Charity is, of course, the first of all the virtues, and what St Paul wrote about charity could be described as a character portrait of Mary MacKillop:
Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.
Michel Goonan SSP
Image provided by Michael Goonan SSP. Used with permission.
The Virtues of St Mary of the Cross, Mary Mackillop 1842-1909, by Fr Paul Gardiner S.J. Prepared for publication by Fr Peter Joseph. Published by St Pauls Publications, Strathfield NSW. ISBN 9781925494358 160 pages $14.95.