Peace Beyond Understanding: The Story of Mother Mary MacKillop, Foundress of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, by Monsignor James Hannon

Saint Mary MacKillopMary MacKillop was an Australian. She was born on 15th January, 1842, in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, a few hundred yards from where Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, now stands. Baptized at Saint Francis’ Church, the record of her baptism is in the archives of the Cathedral.

Her parents were immigrant Highland Scots, Alexander MacKillop and Flora McDonald, who were married at Saint Francis’ by Victoria’s first priest, Father Geoghegan, OFM.

Her Father

Alexander MacKillop had studied for the priesthood, first in Scotland, later at the Scots College in Rome. He reluctantly abandoned his studies, probably through ill health, and returned to Scotland. At that time and place, the vague combination of disappointment and disgrace which expressed itself in the term “spoiled priest” was a strong factor. Almost certainly because of this, his parents left the Catholic Highlands in 1835 and took Alexander with them to find a new life beyond the rim of the world in Australia.

He was one of the tiny group of Catholics who met for prayer in the home of the French carpenter, Peter Bodecin, in Collins Street West, before the arrival of the Franciscan, Father Geoghegan. He served as one of the trustees for the building of Saint Francis Church, and for the establishment and maintenance of the little school alongside. Apparently successful in business at first, he was ruined in the crash of the Rucher affair, for the solvency of which he had been a guarantor – one of the “Twelve Apostles”. He lost the home he bad built for the family at Darebin, moving from place to place in poverty and desperate embarrassment.

The Family

Mary was the eldest of the seven children, and bore a great part of the burden of worry. She had little formal schooling: a short time at Saint Francis’ School, maybe a term at the Academy of Mary Immaculate. Quite patiently, however, she learned much from her father; the treasure he had stored up for a wider field was poured out for his eldest daughter, and Mary MacKillop reached a standard of religious and literary education which would have been available from no colonial school of the period.

The later history of “Sandy” MacKillop is wrapped in mystery. He seems to have been with the family for some time in Portland; but, after Mary’s removal to Penola and to Adelaide, there is no word of him. Did he go searching for gold still wider afield? Did he embark on some other business venture? Did he just wander off, spending the twilight of his life reaching for the Grail he was reaching for in Scotland and Rome and Melbourne? With the sure wisdom of hindsight, it is certain that nothing he had ever dreamed of doing whether as a priest or a Catholic layman, could ever match the glory of the achievement of being the father and the childhood mentor of Mary MacKillop.

The Roaring Fifties

The discovery of gold at Ballarat in August, 1851, brought a dramatic change to the quiet sleepiness of the settlement of Port Phillip. The proud and the free, the reckless and the greedy, came pouring in to fan out from Melbourne in a feverish rush to the diggings at Ballarat and Bendigo and a hundred other places across the Colony. The “Roaring Forties” of the Californian gold rushes became the “Roaring Fifties” in Australia. In that decade, more gold was produced in Australia than in any other decade of the nineteenth century; and it brought tremendous changes.

Melbourne became a boomtown. Property values soared, as did tradesmen’s wages, as did the price of foodstuffs. Ships swung idly at anchor in Port Phillip Bay, deserted by their crews to join in the mad rush of clerks and shopkeepers, government servants and farmers to the spreading goldfields. Other ships refused to proceed farther than the port of Adelaide, for fear of desertion by their crews, and a thriving business was established in the freighting of their cargoes to Melbourne and the fields at Ballarat and Bendigo – by bullock wagons! All this resulted in a scarcity of commodities which, paralleled by the use of nuggets and gold dust as currency, triggered wild inflations.

Republic of Victoria

It was in this atmosphere that Mary MacKillop grew up. She was a month short of her thirteenth birthday when the unrest of the inrushing population came to a head at Eureka, near Ballarat. For a pathetically proud three days the star-crossed flag of the “Republic of Victoria” flew over the Stockade, to be dragged in sad defeat at the heels of a trooper’s horse on that December Sunday morning of 1854. Yet, for the last eight years of her life, she was to know that same flag as the honoured symbol of One Nation, One People, One Commonwealth of Australia.

Clerk and Teacher

She was what must have been a rarity in the mid-nineteenth century, a business girl, for she worked as a clerk with the printing and stationery firm of Sands and McDougall – then Sands and Kenny – receiving the wages of a forewoman. Later, thanks to the education she had received from her father, she was able to fill successfully the post of governess in several places in the Western District and in the Southeast of the Colony of South Australia. Early in the 1860’s, in an attempt to reunite the family, she started a school in Portland in a rented house which had been built by the Hentys. It was a curious kind of enterprise, part private school, part community-supported; and the ever-present shortage of money cramped it from the beginning. It was at this school that Father Tenison Woods came into her life for the second time. She had met him some four years before when she was governess at a station homestead near Penola, which was the headquarters of his widespread parish.

Father Julian Tenison Woods

Father Tenison Woods was a man of remarkable and creative mind. Not only was he one of Australia’s great frontier missionaries, but a distinguished explorer and scientist. Among other works he pioneered the geological study of Northern Australia. He is one of the truly great founders of Catholic education in Australia. With all his great gifts, his untiring zeal, he had nevertheless an unhappy and strangely difficult personality. His relations with Mary MacKillop were marred by misunderstandings and a curious kind of tyranny on his part. On her part, she never uttered a word against her director of the early years, was always most upset if his part in the founding of the Sisters of Saint Joseph would seem to have been forgotten.

A Beginning At Penola

It was late in 1865 that Father Tenison Woods asked Mary to undertake the teaching of a school which he proposed to open in Penola. Early in 1866 she crossed the border into South Australia with her two sisters and her brother John. In Penola a disused stable had been rented and, by dint of some hard work by John MacKillop it was made presentable enough for the beginning of school. It was the Bethlehem of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart. On the Feast of Saint Joseph, 1866, Mary MacKillop, the first Sister of Saint Joseph, placed herself in the hands of her Divine Master to teach his little ones. Although she did not take formal vows until the Feast of the Assumption, 1867, in Adelaide, Mary MacKillop becoming Mother Mary of the Cross, the 19th of March has always been regarded as the date of the foundation.

Adelaide – and Gethsemane

The story of the next eight years is one of extraordinary trial, and of tremendous strength on the part of Mother Mary of the Cross. Time and again she earned in bitter truth the right to the title. Within five years the tiny community had grown to a body of 120 nuns. Maybe the rapid growth, but probably more so the departure from the semi-cloistered life which was the accepted role of a nun, was the cause of the determined opposition. In South Australia which had been founded only 30 years before with the expressed stipulation that “no Irish or Papists need apply”, the enmity of those outside the Church was understandable enough. What was so hard to bear was the opposition within the Church, opposition all along the line of ecclesiastical authority; opposition which, quite patently, its authors were convinced was for the ultimate glory of God. Mother Mary and her daughters in Christ were to learn the bitter wisdom of the warning Christ had given to those who would follow Him: “They will put you out of their synagogues, and think that they are doing honour to God. And it was a struggle conducted by Mother Mary with sublime charity and an unbroken loyalty to the Hierarchy and the clergy.

Unified Direction

The years of trial were punctuated by journeys to Sydney and to Brisbane. Here the problem was the one of government. Mother Mary wanted, because she so clearly saw the necessity, an Australia-wide congregation, with unified direction, and a common training for all her sisters. The Church in Australia – or, more accurately, the Church in the various Colonies which eventually were to become Australia, was not yet prepared for such unity of government or of purpose. And so in 1874 Mother Mary of the Cross, 32 years of age, with trouble facing here everywhere she looked, made up her mind to go to Rome.

The Roman Saga

1874! It is less than a hundred years ago, but it is difficult today to imagine just what an extraordinary feat of courage and determination that journey was. Mother Mary travelled in lay dress, her habit packed away in her baggage against the day of arrival in Rome. This she did for the double reason of causing the minimum of upset and to save the cost – a very cogent reason, this – of the travelling expenses of a companion. So much swift history has flowed beneath the bridges of the last century, that it is hard to evoke the mood which she must have found in the Rome of 1874. Less than four years before, the Red-Shirts of Garibaldi – without Garibaldi – had won their puny victory at the Porta Pia, had burst into the City of the Popes to place the House of Savoy on the Quirinal throne, and scatter the Fathers of the First Vatican Council.

On their heels the anti-clericals and the atheists of Europe, the haters of the Papacy and the wild-eyed revolutionaries of the world had swarmed into Rome to celebrate the end of the Catholic Church; to humiliate, in every possible way, the Successor of Saint Peter, both in his person and in his representatives. Within the Church, there was a sense of stunned dismay, a feeling that the unbelievable had happened. What interest could there be in the quarter of a million Catholics in a group of colonies on the far side of the world? Above all, what audience could be found in Papal Rome for revolutionary ideas in Australia, with the reckless results of revolution all around them?

Ears That Would Listen

And yet, this young woman of 32 years, without benefit of distinguished birth or patronage, with no advantages of wealth or position, was able to find, and swiftly, ears that would listen, hearts that would sympathize, heads that would plan all the way up to the anguished Pio Nono himself [Pope Pius IX]. From Rome to France, to England, the Scotland of her fathers, to Ireland, Mother Mary went serenely on. What surprises is not that she was received coldly in so many places, looked on with suspicion and alarm in so many others. The real surprise is that she won friends, so many steadfast friends, in the most unlikely quarters.

Back to Rome, and to the decision which spelled out eventual success in the long struggle. On her return to Australia, the first General Chapter of the Congregation was held in Adelaide in 1875. There were skirmishes still to be fought, to be lost as well as won; disappointments were to come, setbacks to be endured and by-passed. But the long haul to the top of the hill was over.

Mother Mary’s Monument

Since the foundation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, there have been more than 3,000 members of the Congregation. Today [1966] they number some 2,500 in 22 Dioceses of Australia, in the four Dioceses of New Zealand, and even in one Diocese in Ireland, so long and so generously the benefactor of the Church in Australia and New Zealand.

Aims and Objectives

The first two paragraphs of the Constitutions of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart read:

“The primary end of the Institute is the sanctification of its members by the practice of the three simple vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and by the exact observance of this Rule.”

“The secondary end of the Institute is the instruction of poor children. However, by way of exception and at the request or with the consent of the Ordinary, other works which may be required by necessity can be added to the work of education.”

The evaluation of the primary end, the measure of its success, is beyond our calculation. The secondary end, however, the success of the work of the Sisters, is laid out like a magnificent mosaic for all to see. During Mother Mary’s active leadership of over 40 years she founded 160 Josephite houses, including 12 homes for orphans and homeless and 117 schools with 12,000 children. At her death, the family she had founded in Christ numbered 1,000 Sisters; a record probably unequalled in the history of religious congregations.

Current Situation

To bring the record up to date with any kind of accuracy is an impossibility; for the simple reason that the figures are changing almost month by month. There are more than two and a half thousand Sisters, somewhere about 100,000 plus children in their schools; orphanages, maternity hospitals, foundling homes, hostels for working girls and for migrants, motor missions, correspondence courses . . . . wherever the need, especially of those whom Christ Our Lord called His little ones, there will be found today a Sister of Saint Joseph.

Mother Mary and Caroline Chisholm

It is interesting to speculate on what influence Mrs. Caroline Chisholm had on the vocation of Mary MacKillop. After her return from England in 1854, Mrs. Chisholm spent some three years in Melbourne and was a frequent visitor to the MacKillop home in Darebin, which was a Mass-centre for the Catholics of the district.

Caroline Chisholm holds a place which is unique in Australian social history. A convert to Catholicism, she spent her early married years as the wife of an officer of the East India Company, himself a Catholic of Scottish ancestry. Late in the 1830’s they moved to Australia. A woman of strong and fearless character, brilliant practical mind and simple personal piety, she combined a delicate feminine conservatism with a social radicalism that challenged the colonial governments and wealthy interests of the day. She struggled untiringly, both in New South Wales and in England, against almost hopeless odds, for a colonial social policy based on the family and private property. With the help of her husband, she carried through a brilliant work of colonization in the face of tremendous difficulties, opposition from entrenched wealth and religious prejudice.

Second Moses

The story of her journeys on the Australian frontier, riding her white horse Captain, leading her armies of immigrants, caught the imagination of England. London Punch called her a “second Moses in bonnet and shawl”:

“Who led their expeditions and under whose command
Through dangers and through hardships
Sought they the Promised Land?
A second Moses, surely, it was who did it all.
It was. A second Moses in bonnet and in shawl.”

Perhaps her greatest and most lasting achievement was the establishment of the dignity of womanhood after the degradation of the convict era. Without rank or wealth, and with very meagre support, she settled some 11,000 women in security and independence; and, from the day she dedicated her “talents to the God that gave them”, she steadfastly refused any reward for her work. *

A Greatly Honoured Guest

Caroline Chisholm would have been a greatly honoured guest in the home at Darebin. Her greatest achievements were in the process of development. For the young Mary, then in her early teens, the personality, the burning enthusiasm of the visitor, have made a lasting impression. It is impossible not to come to the conclusion that Caroline Chisholm was an instrument of Divine Providence in the forming of the vocation of the young girl, precisely at the time it must have been stirring in her heart.

There are indications in her life that she had been impressed by the need for the care of the immigrants. In Sydney, she visited the immigrant ships, offered what help she and her Sisters could. Later, at Mackay in Queensland, she taught catechism to the children of the Kanaka workers on the sugar plantations, labourers indentured from the islands of the Pacific. She travelled around in a buggy, collecting the children of immigrants to teach them the truths of their Faith.

The work that the Sisters of Saint Joseph are doing today for the migrants, not only for the thousands of migrant children in their city schools, but also in the hostels and holding centres, must be very much in the line of the dreams of their Foundress.

Mother Mary’s Death

The success of her work, the victory over prejudice and misunderstanding, did not bring an end to the suffering of Mother Mary, so well named “of the Cross”. The last years of her life were spent in a wheelchair, physically crippled by what would today be diagnosed as a stroke. It is a measure of the striking importance of the work she had begun, the appreciation of it even by secular government, that the New Zealand Railways placed a special train at her disposal on her last visit to the houses in that Dominion.

The end came on 8 August 1909. Gently Death stole to her bedside as the beloved enemy. An enemy, because death is the ceaseless enemy of every living thing; an enemy, because death would take her away from the day-by-day care of her Sisters. Beloved, because death meant for her the lasting rendezvous with the Christ she had known long since, and loved all the days of her life.

The Peace Was Always There

In the Holy Year of 1925, the Superior General of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Mother Lawrence, with Sister Francis as her companion, came out from Rome to visit the small band of Australian students on vacation at the Villa of the Propaganda Fide at Castel Gandolfo. With maybe a dim sensing that they were touching the gossamer threads of history, the students asked her what was her outstanding memory of Mother Mary of the Cross whom she had known so long and so well. One student of those days remembers well her answer.

“It was,” said Mother Lawrence, “her peace . . . a deep, endless kind of peace that came from far inside. Oh, she was often in pain, often tired; she knew disappointments and worries in plenty. Even in the days of success, every mail brought the small agony of a decision to be made, every visit problems great or small; but the peace was always there. Yes, that is what I remember most: the peace of her; the peace that was always there. . .

Light in the Darkness

Almost exactly 50 years before, Mother Mary was herself in Rome. As the days and the weeks of waiting lengthened out, she walked in the footsteps of the millions of Christian pilgrims that Rome had known since the days of the apostles Peter and Paul. There was a particular attraction for her, for these were the places – the churches, the streets, the monuments and the shrines – which had lived so vividly in her imagination since the wide-eyed little Mary MacKillop had listened entranced to her father’s stories of his student days in the Scots College on the Via Quattro Fontane. At least once she took the short roadway which winds up to the Capitol from the Forum, to pay a visit to the little chapel which is built over the Mamertine Prison, the grim dungeons of which had been the last address of so many of Rome’s more notable enemies. Beneath the chapel is the cell which a thousand and a half years of Christian tradition assigns as the place where Saint Peter wrote his Second Epistle, shortly before his martyrdom. In the gloomy mustiness which even today is the pervading impression of the stark prison, she would have heard the echo of the words of the old man:

“Being assured that the laying away of this my tabernacle is at hand, according as our Lord Jesus Christ also has signified to me.

“And I will endeavour that you frequently have after my decease whereby you may keep a memory of these things.

“For we have not, by following artificial fables, made known to you the power and the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eye witnesses of his greatness.

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory: this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. And this we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. And we have the more firm prophetical word, whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light which shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” – 2 Peter 1:14-19

He was on Tabor again, with James and John under the morning sun of Galilee, as he had been so often, in vivid and startling memory through almost 40 years. In the Garden of Gethsemane, through prisons and floggings, in poverty and tears and the contempt of the world around him. . . . .The darkness fell away, he saw only the shining face of the transfigured Christ; he heard no groans of fellow-prisoners, no rustles of the horde of rats, only the words from Heaven. He felt no leaden weight of impending torture and death in his heart, only the glad surge of “Lord, it is good to be here!” the words that had sprung from his heart “when we were with Him in the holy mount”. That had been his real life through all those 40 years, the bright light which had shone in so many a dark place. For Saint Peter, through the storm of his life and the agony of his death on Vatican Hill, it was a citadel of impregnable peace.

A Touch of the Glory

And the young Mother Mary understood it so well. For somewhere, sometime, there had been for her a transfiguration of Christ. In Melbourne, in Portland, Penola, Adelaide? God knows. Did it develop gradually in her soul, or was there a dramatic moment, a blinding flash? Once again, only God knows.

But of one thing we may be sure: there was such a transfiguration. Somewhere, sometime, Mary MacKillop was permitted to touch a little of the glory, to know a small part of the wonder that is the glorified Christ. For it is this gift that Christ has in His giving for those He chooses for special service. This was the light which she followed, this was the light “which shone in a dark place”; in all the dark places of her life. And with the light came peace, that special kind of peace “which passes all understanding”.

A Deep Interior Fortress

That peace of Christ brings no immunity from suffering, no guarantee against tears and the twisting of the heart, no final victory against the weakness of human nature. Only deep strength it brings with it, the building of a deep interior fortress which no panic may storm, no doubt or opposition may ever really breach. And this peace and its strength Mother Mary needed. She was to know opposition and misunderstanding from those in whom she instinctively had trusted for help and encouragement. She was to know that particular sense of repulsive guilt which only those wrongly accused can ever experience. Poverty was to be a constant companion. It was not the joyful kind of poverty which carries with it the freedom from personal possessions, the total reliance on God’s Providence. Poverty for herself would have been so easy to bear, so happy a burden. The poverty she knew was the poverty of all the Sisters under her care, the hoarding of the pennies and the scraps to build the little shacks that were the convents, to keep open the shelters for the orphans and the helpless. Add to all this the long journeys by coach and bullock-wagon and in small ships, the long battles with authority which had to follow such a delicate path: to go forward along the way she knew to be so necessary for the success of the work Christ Our Lord had assigned to her; and, at the same time and so successfully, to preserve the utmost of respect and reverence for the very ones who opposed that progress so vigorously.

Through it all and with it all, deep down her heart was singing, and the refrain of that song were the words of Simon Peter: “Lord, it is good to be here!”

The Day Star Rises

And even in her lifetime, she was to see “the day star arise”. She lived to see her Sisters busy in the noisy, bustling streets of city suburbs; teaching the children, visiting the homes of the growing industrial jungles of the twentieth century. She saw them spread out through the quiet country towns to the places that nudge the edge of the Never-Never; to Jindabyne and Adaminaby and Nimmitabel and the country where the Man from the Snowy River rode through the pages of Banjo Patterson. The brown line of them was stretched taut across the whole continent from Kalgoorlie and Kelleberrin, Boulder and Southern Cross in the West to Texas and Taroom, Diranbandi and Crow’s Nest in Queensland. Sometimes they were housed in places that looked something like convents. More often their homes were tiny cottages, poor outside and in, housing sometimes three, far more frequently just two Sisters. Their acceptance of the vocation that Christ had given them brought no exemptions from the loneliness of isolation, from the sand and the flies and the heat. It brought with it no guarantee of Mass and the Sacraments, no surety that it might not be months on end before they could count on the visit of a priest.

Poor in the material things, maybe sometimes poorer still in the externals of the Faith, the young girls who had come so joyfully from the cities and the towns grew old fast; but their spirit was forever young. Deep in their eyes was the reflection of the light that Mother Mary had known in all the dark places; away down where only God can hear the murmuring of the heart, there was the song: “Lord, it is good for us to be here!”

Land of the Long White Cloud

Across the Tasman, the names Mother Mary wrote on her letters, the addresses she searched for on her visits sang a different song: set to the music of the Maoris “Land of the Long White Cloud”. Remuera and Matata were founded in the 19th century; Paeroa, Rotorua, Whangarei in the early years of the 1900’s; in the South, Port Chalmers, Waimate and Temuka were flourishing before the turn of the century. The Sisters were settled in Temuka for four years before the Diocese (Christchurch), in which it is situated, was founded. It is as good a yardstick as any to measure the growth of the work that Mother Mary did for her Master to reflect that the foundation at Temuka in New Zealand’s South Island took place just 17 years after the beginning in the stable at Penola; only eight years after her return from Rome. . . .

Wherever they went, whatever the work they found waiting to be done, the daughters of Mother Mary carried the same whispered offering to Christ in their hearts; a whisper that was the long echo of the words of Ruth to Naomi: “Wherever You go I shall go. Your people will be my people . . . . wherever You dwell there will I pitch my tent. Where You die, there also shall I die, and there will I be buried . . . and I pray that nothing in life or in death may ever separate me from You. . .

Pride and Confidence

Australians are proud of Mother Mary of the Cross, all Australians. But there is a large segment of them who have a particular pride in her memory. They number not only the thousands of Sisters who live under the Rule she gave them; but the hundreds of thousands of other Australians whose lives have been significantly formed by what the Sisters of Saint Joseph meant to them in their early youth.

They are an extraordinary cross-section of Australia’s people: Young men and young women and grandparents and great-grandparents; husbands and wives and sons and daughters, the poor and the not-so-poor. Some of them found in the Sisters of the foundling homes and the orphanages loving substitutes for the mothers and fathers they were never to know. Others came to the Sisters as scruffy young ruffians from city slums, or as shy little colts from the spinifex and the saltbush. For thousands of them the first real vision of what they could learn, of the opportunities that life held for them came from the gentle voice, the firm dedication of a nun in a brown habit. Above all, they learned how to make Christ Our Lord part of their lives, to translate Him from the prayers they had learned at the bedside into a meaning for all their years on earth.

A cross-section they are: plumbers and carpenters and bishops and milkmen; professors and dustmen and politicians and doctors and lawyers; publicans and priests and nurses and missionaries and actors and singers . . . so many vocations, so many ways of serving God. And all of these vocations owe something, little or very much indeed, to the work begun by Mother Mary MacKillop.

They are proud of Mother Mary; proud, and confident, too. Confident that the work which she began will continue, no matter what may be the present difficulties or the fears for the future. Confident, too, that in these lands of the Southern Cross, in which and through the love of which she expressed so eloquently her love of God, her name will always be a blessing, the memory of her in lasting peace.

Some Characteristic Sayings

True Charity:

“My own dear Sisters, do all you can to bear with one another and to love one another in God and for God. We must expect to receive crosses; we know that we give them. What poor, faulty nature finds hard to bear, the love of God and zeal in His service will make sweet and easy. Try always to be generous with God.”

The Institute God’s Work:

“Don’t be troubled about the future of the Institute; I am not. He Whose work it is will take care of it. Let us all resign ourselves into His hands, and pray that in all things He may guide us to do His holy will. When thoughts of this or that will come, I turn to Him and say: ‘Only what You will, my God. Use me as You will’.”

A Welcome to the Cross:

My only anxiety is lest I should fall in a sorrow or humiliation He should put upon me. I cannot say with God’s faithful servants that I love humiliations; but I know they are good for me, and if He sends them I hope I shall be grateful.”

Simple Obedience:

“Beware of self mixing up with the work of God. Fear your own judgement; never let reasonings come between you and obedience.”

Respect for Priests:

“I had rather a dagger were thrust into my heart than hear a word said amongst us against priests – the anointed of God.”

All for God Only:

“Let us do the will of Him we love, and not by one wilful sigh wish for life or death but as He pleases, and when He pleases; so that no shadow of earthly will or self remain in hearts chosen by the God of Love for Himself.”

Prayer

O God, who wills not that any soul should perish, but that all should be converted and live, grant, we beseech You, success to good work begun for Your Name by Your servant Mary of the Cross, and deign so to glorify her name before men that an increasing multitude of souls may by her means be brought to eternal salvation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

– from the booklet Peace Beyond Understanding: The Story of Mother Mary MacKillop, Foundress of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, by Monsignor James Hannon, Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1966