Mary MacKillop to become Australia's first Saint

Thursday, 7 January 2010

21 December, 2009: Australian Catholic University joins the Sisters of Saint Joseph in celebrating the anticipated canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop, after her second miracle was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI.

The first of Mary’s miracles was confirmed in 1995 by Pope John Paul II, when he accepted the claim that she had cured a woman suffering from leukaemia. The second miracle is the cure of a woman suffering from inoperable cancer. 

Australian Catholic University (ACU) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, is delighted with the announcement.

“Mary MacKillop’s canonisation is a long-awaited honour for both the Sisters of Saint Joseph and Australian Catholic University,” said Professor Craven.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph and Australian Catholic University have held a number of joint events this year to celebrate the centenary of Mary MacKillop’s death. Over 1500 people attended a celebratory concert in Brisbane earlier this year.

Mary’s order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart,  opened schools and orphanages around the country, along with facilities for the homeless and refuges for former prisoners and prostitutes looking to make a fresh start.

In the 1880s, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph moved to a cottage in Mount Street, North Sydney, where they established a teacher training school for the Sisters.Lay students were admitted in 1958, and the school later became the Catholic Teachers' College and in 1982 became part of the Catholic College of Education Sydney.

The campus was given the name MacKillop to identify it as part of the College and to recognise the ongoing support of the Sisters of St Joseph. Professor Greg Craven said the University is honoured to have a strong and long-standing affiliation with Blessed Mary and her legacy.

“Mary MacKillop’s name has become synonymous with great vision, outstanding holiness and heroic character,” he said. “Her respect for the dignity of all people, her service of the disadvantaged, and her efforts to build the capacity of those communities she served are qualities which Australian Catholic University seeks to instill in its staff, students and graduates.”

In November 2009, Archbishop of Sydney, His Eminence Cardinal George Pell unveiled a sculpture of Mary MacKillop at the North Sydney Campus.  Professor Craven commissioned the sculpture by artist Linda Klarfeld.

“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 Blessed Mary MacKillop coming home to MacKillop Campus.”

Unveiling of the Mary MacKillop sculpture
Archbishop of Sydney His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, sculptor Linda Klarfeld and ACU Vice Chancellor Professor Greg Craven at the unveiling of the sculpture last November.

The featured image on the home page is of the statue of Mary MacKillop from the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane.