Mary MacKillop would be very proud!

What a wonderful celebration we had on 8 August in honour of Australia’s first saint: St Mary of the Cross. Mary MacKillop has a significant connection to St Benedict’s. 

Our school was founded by the Sisters of St Joseph. This is the congregation which Mary MacKillop founded in 1866 with Father Julian Tenison Woods. So it’s the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of St Joseph, which made this year’s celebration even more special.

5SG led our school community in a moving celebration and sang “Mary of the Cross” by Michael Mangan. All the teachers were given a jar of lollies to share with their class, just as Mary MacKillop did!

They finished the liturgy with this prayer…

Heavenly Father, you gave us Mary MacKillop. She spent her life loving you and

bringing your love to the poor children in Australia. She still works on through

her Sisters of St Joseph today. We thank you God and pray that you will bless

us so that we can follow her example. We ask this …

in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit … Amen.

All the students from Year 5 prepared and presented a dramatisation of the book Meet…Mary MacKillop by Sally Murphy. Before the presentation each class buddied up with another class to complete an activity based around Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph.  At recess the students enjoyed a picnic with their buddy class and their visitors.

Late last term the St Benedict’s staff visited Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney for their retreat. They toured the museum and prayed at her tomb in the Memorial Chapel. They also learnt about Mary’s life and how our St Benedict’s community can embrace the charism of the Sisters of St Joseph … faith, compassion, honesty, empowerment, action, love and courage. We will also be naming our school chapel later this year as St Mary of the Cross Chapel.

Everyone involved in the day has been inspired to continue spreading the spirit of St Mary of the Cross with others.

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Joanne Isaac Image
Joanne Isaac

Joanne is a Communications Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular columnist for Aurora Magazine.