Mary MacKillop Canonisation

14 October 2010


Mary MacKillop will be canonised on October 17th in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI.

Mary MacKillop...

Born: 15 January 1842, Melbourne
Died: 8 August 1909, Sydney
Beatified: 19 January 1995, Sydney
Canonised: 17 October 2010, Rome


How will we celebrate her canonisation?

On Sunday 17th October the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference will release a pastoral letter to be read at Sunday Masses and have special prayers in the liturgy.

In the Diocese there will be the following Masses:

  • Saturday 20th November, 1.00pm Thanksgiving Mass and afternoon tea at St Mary’s Manchester St
  • Sunday 21st November Mass, 11am, St Joseph’s Temuka followed by lunch.


View the canonisation by webcast

The official Mary MacKillop website

Sisters of St Joseph website

Sisters of St Joseph e-news

View the canonisation on the web

Coverage of the canonisation will be available on the web, incorporating a live, interactive webcast, photo galleries, a calendar of canonisation celebrations, educational resources and information highlighting Mary’s life and legacy.

The webcast begins on the Sunday at 7.00pm [NZ time] with live coverage of the Mary MacKillop Feast Day Mass from St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, before crossing to the canonisation ceremony in Rome at 8.15pm [NZ time].

You can access download instructions from this link:

Watch the live broadcast on Channel 90 Sky News hosted by a panel based in Sydney featuring Josephite Sisters, liturgists and representatives from the Catholic Church. They will cross to celebrations taking place around Australia.

Stories of her life...

For the weeks leading up to the canonisation, there will be stories of her life that relate to us here in our own Diocese.

1. Mary MacKillop – A Saint of Ordinariness
Mary co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Fr Julian Tenison Woods in Penola, South Australia in 1866. The first foundation in NZ was Temuka when Sisters arrived there in 1883 to teach in the school set up by Parish Priest, Father Fauvel sm. Mary travelled to NZ four times between 1894 – 1902 to visit her sisters who by then, had set up schools all around NZ, particularly in the rural areas. A significant link for this diocese is Mary’s brother John who is buried in the Barbadoes St cemetery. As a carpenter, he converted an old stable into the first Josephite school in Penola. Sadly, he died in Christchurch after an accident. Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Blessed Mary MacKillop, an ordinary woman, who lived an extraordinary life.

Gospel Reading - John 15:16 You did not choose me, no I chose you. And I appointed you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
2: Mary MacKillop - Advocate for the poor
Mary's love for Christ was so strong that she sought him out in the poor, sick and suffering. There are many examples in Mary's life where she put aside her own needs in order to serve the sick, lonely and disadvantaged. The children taught by the Sisters often had no shoes to wear. On the night before their First Communion, Mary would have a re-enactment of the Washing of the Feet. This meant all the children would have clean feet for this special occasion in their life.
Gospel Reading - Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.
3: Mary MacKillop - Teacher and Educator
In the spirit of Jesus the teacher, Mary combined a love of children with a desire that education should be available to all. Mary sent her Sisters to remote areas to ensure that economic hardship and distance was no barrier to providing a basic education to those in isolated communities. It also concerned her that people in these far flung communities had very little understanding of their faith. It was remembered by the Sisters that Religious Education classes were to be held at 12 noon. This meant that children in country places who often had to walk to school or do farm duties before they came, did not miss out on what Mary considered the most important lesson of the day.
Gospel Reading - Mark 6:34 As he went ashore he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
4: Mary MacKillop - Model for pilgrims seeking Christ
Even though Mary MacKillop lived a full and active life, she made sure that she spent time each day in prayer and meditation - often late at night. With her focus on Christ she was able to live a holy and exemplary life and she inspires us to do the same. In September, 1873 Mary was invited by Fr Christie SJ to go on the great pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial in honour of the Sacred Heart.
Gospel Reading - John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.
5:Mary MacKillop - Living by the Power of the Cross
Mary MacKillop of the Cross suffered hardship from others and regular illness in her own life. She experienced the loss of a number of her siblings in their youth and the tragic death of her mother through drowning. Mary felt these crosses deeply and at times felt like giving up. With time to reflect, Mary MacKillop saw suffering as a blessing from God and an invitation to share in the cross of Christ.
Gospel Reading - John 19:17 So they took Jesus and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to the Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
6: Mary MacKillop - A Woman of the Church
As a baptised Christian Mary MacKillop took seriously the challenge to serve Christ in all peoples especially those who were poor. She trusted in the providence of God to sustain her. As a leader in the church, Mary was often engaging with bishops and priests whom she treated with great integrity and respect. Mary MacKillop was for many a 'sign and instrument of God's love'. She and her Sisters lived in and among the people taking the heart of the church into their midst.
Gospel Reading - Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them.
7: Mary MacKillop - Proclaiming the Gospel
For Mary MacKillop people were equally important whatever their beliefs. She was at home with people of any class or culture, and showed great respect and love for all. She proclaimed Christ's message as much by example as by word. When someone was in trouble she would go in person to attend to the situation. When the kerosene lamp exploded in Port Augusta, and two of her Sisters were critically injured Mary went at once to be with them, even though it was a difficult journey.  
Gospel Reading: John 13:14-15 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
8: Mary MacKillop - With openness to those of other faith traditions
Mary MacKillop befriended people of other Christian denominations and faith traditions at a time when this practice was uncommon. In turn they offered her great friendship and support and valued her respect and loving concern. Johanna and Robert Barr Smith were two who became close friends. Her example invites us to work for the unity of all Christians and to be involved in Interfaith Dialogue.
Gospel Reading - John 17:20 I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word; that they may all be one.
9: Mary MacKillop - Inspiring people to work for peace and justice
Whenever Mary MacKillop saw a need she set out to respond. Mary sought always to bring about justice and required her followers to do the same. While she challenged unjust behaviour Mary always showed great respect for people and worked for peace and harmony in all situations. She did her best at the time of the excommunication to prevent the matter going into the public media.
Gospel Reading - John 20: 21 The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father sent me so I send you.'