A Day with St Mary MacKillop

Today, the 8th August, was the feast day of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop! St Mary is Australia’s only canonised saint, having been canonised less than three years ago.

She was born in 1842 in Melbourne, Australia and died on 8th August, 1909 in Sydney. She was the co-founder of the Brown Joeys, or Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, a religious congregation dedicated to teaching the poor, particularly in rural areas. You can read more about her here.

By all accounts, she was an incredibly kind, practical, dedicated and holy woman. And she seems to embody a particularly Australian resilience. Even when she excommunicated by a jealous bishop, she just got on with it — all to the glory of God. I love that.


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I live near to Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel where her body is buried, and it’s one of my favourite places to get some peace, and just chat to Mother Mary of the Cross. So often, I rely on her down-to-earth motheriness to intercede for me, that God would give me courage to do what has to be done today. No more, no less. Just today.

Do all you can with the means at your disposal and calmly leave the rest to God.

— St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Today, her feast day, the chapel was a little more crowded and that is so good!

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Afterwards, I went to the museum where, of course, there was a diorama.

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At the gift store, I bought a commemorative mug because I am addicted to commemorative mugs. ( I tell you, they’re the new souvenir spoons and when I’m old and grey and have a gazillion grandkids, I will have my collection of commemorative mugs in pride of place and everyone will hate them. It’s going to be brilliant.)


Often we say that people are so heavenly-minded, they’re of no earthly good. Real saints are the opposite. They have their feet fixed firmly on the ground, while their eyes are lifted to the heavens. St Mary worked so hard to improve the lives of the poor and marginalised, not in spite of the fact that this world is passing, but because it is. Because she knew, like all the saints do, that we are not made for this wretchedness but for the glories of heaven and communion with Our Lord.

Remember we are but travellers here.

— St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us. 

St Joseph, pray for us. 

St Mary of the Cross, pray for us.

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2 responses to “A Day with St Mary MacKillop

  1. Cool saint! I think I’ll learn more about her. Oh, and the diorama? CUTEST THING EVER! The little nuns are adorable!!

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