Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI issued a papal decree setting Mary MacKillop well on the way to being the first Australian to be canonised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The decree also recognised the ”heroic virtues” of Popes John Paul II and Pious XII, along with seven others. Early next year a commission of cardinals will assess her case and the Pope then makes the final decision which now appears all but certain – with her canonisation probably occurring during 2010.
In 2006 I put a motion to our diocesan synod which led to Mary MacKillop being voted to be added to the NZ Anglican calendar for August 8. Although that is still to be passed again by a second meeting of General Synod (meeting in 2010) and then a year “lying on the table” for anyone to object, the church is so confident of her inclusion that she has already been included in the 2009 and 2010 lectionaries.
Together with Father Julian Tenison Woods, Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She was for a while excommunicated, but now there are more than a thousand Sisters in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Peru. She is not present on the calendar of the Australian Anglican A Prayer Book for Australia, and I would be interested to know if there is movement there to add her to that calendar.