Blessed Mary MacKillop 'comes home' to ACU National: Cardinal Pell unveils sculpture

Monday, 24 November 2008

13 November 2008: Archbishop of Sydney His Eminence Cardinal George Pell has unveiled a sculpture of Blessed Mary MacKillop at the Australian Catholic University's (ACU) North Sydney (MacKillop) Campus.

Cardinal Pell, sculptor Linda Klarfeld, and ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven 

Cardinal George Pell described Mary as a woman who valued education immensely and worked consistently and well with people most in need of it.

Australians take great pride in the achievements of Blessed Mary MacKillop, so I am delighted that a site dedicated to her memory should be in these grounds, the MacKillop campus of Australian Catholic University, said Cardinal Pell.

It is very important that we have beautiful symbols that speak to all sorts of people about what we believe, which exemplify the quality of Christ and what we try to value.

ACU Vice Chancellor Professor Greg Craven commissioned the sculpture by artist Linda Klarfeld to celebrate the Universitys history and ongoing affiliation with Blessed Mary MacKillop.

I particularly asked that she be depicted in her later years, Professor Craven said. She knew this house, knew this garden. We see this as the Blessed Mary MacKillop coming home to MacKillop Campus.

He said he hoped staff students and people passing by would have the opportunity to reflect and pray in the presences of this site.

Klarfeld, whose sculptures are highly regarded and sought after by collectors, was thrilled that Cardinal Pell unveiled the statue of Mary MacKillop.

Mary MacKillop was an incredible woman and she dared to believe in her dream and thats why I feel quite a strong connection with her, Klarfeld explained. In fact, when I was approached to make this statue, I was extremely grateful but I wasnt surprised. I feel I was destined to make it.

Sister Anne Derwin, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, spoke of people, including the sculptor Linda, being captured by Marys life and developing a relationship with her. It seems to be a very common experience with Australians and people beyond our shores.

Sister Anne spoke of Marys popularity for people of faith, people of suffering and people of goodness, adding that she went about daily life in the most ordinary ways, filled with kindness and generosity and was a symbol for Australians who believed in a fair go for all.

Australian Catholic University explicitly engages the social, ethical and religious dimensions of the questions it faces in teaching and research, and service. In its endeavours, it is guided by a fundamental concern for justice and equity, and the dignity of all human beings.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) established as Australias only Catholic, national, publicly funded university is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.