15 September 2010: A team of staff and students from all six Australian Catholic University (ACU) campuses are busy rehearsing a concert depicting the life of Blessed Mary MacKillop - which they will perform in Rome on the eve of her canonisation.
Invited to participate by the Sisters of St Joseph, the 24-member team will give audiences a snapshot of Mary’s life through drama and song.
The ACU Choir will also join the Vatican Choir for the Mary MacKillop canonisation mass in St Peter’s Basilica on October 17.
ACU Brisbane student Megan Hancock, who plays Mary MacKillop, said the trip to Rome would be her first time in Europe.
“I did a lot of research about Mary MacKillop when I was asked to play this role, and she’s someone I’ve come to admire very much,” she said. “What inspires me about Mary MacKillop is that she never gave up. Whether she was excommunicated or defending people’s rights, she just kept on fighting for what she believed in.”
Andrew Beiers, Campus Minister and Director of the creative team, said the performance was a celebration of Mary MacKillop’s life.
“Mary was a woman who was gritty, determined and earthy who was able to mingle with people of all walks of life, from gentry to those who were rough around the edges,” he said. “She captured the hearts and minds of Australians because her spirituality engaged people as it was home-grown, round the kitchen table.”
Dr Tracey Sanders, senior drama lecturer and author of the script, said the performance was a snapshot.
“It takes moments from the archival historical documents that the Sisters gave me, and puts those moments dramatically on stage to capture the highs and lows of Mary MacKillop’s life,” she said.
The performance team will join a larger contingent of ACU staff and students travelling to Rome for the canonisation.
For staff and students at ACU, this occasion has special significance. The life of Mary MacKillop herself and the history of the Sisters of St Joseph has been closely intertwined with the University since the very beginning.