Pope Benedict XVI announced on Friday that Mother Mary MacKillop would be one of six canonised at a Vatican ceremony on October 17.
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.
This Australian has strong associations with New Zealand. She visited here on several occasions. The first school run by her sisters in New Zealand was opened in Temuka in 1883. Other schools and institutions followed and the work continues into the present. While in Rotorua on a visit to New Zealand in 1901 Mother Mary was partially paralysed by a stroke.
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. This has passed a majority of diocesan synods and will this year be presented to a second meeting of General Synod. After this there is 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. It does mean, however, that her official inclusion in our NZ Anglican calendar will now be after that of the Roman Catholic Church. I would be interested if there is any movement to add her to the calendar by the Australian Anglican church.
you gave to your servant Mary MacKillop
a heart to teach and care for children.
We thank you for the good she and her order have done.
By your grace give us a like compassion for the poor
and a concern for the education of the young
that we all may learn to praise you with joyful hearts;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, now and for ever.