Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mary MacKillop.


I have been mulling over in my mind what to say about Australia's first saint since she was canonised last week.

The Sisters of St. Joseph have been very influential in my life over the years.

I was educated by Josephites at St. Josephs Hectorville in my primary years.

Our children attended the same school when we lived in Adelaide.

My Great Aunt was looked after by Josephite sisters at Flora McDonald nursing home. Because she was the only living relative from that generation when Steve and I were married, we went there to have photos taken. One of my treasured photos is the photo with Auntie Ella at our wedding. It was only a couple of years after our marriage that I was back at Flora McDonald for Auntie Ella's funeral mass.

My father was also looked after by Josephite sisters at Tapeiner Court.

Even though the Sisters have been a big part of my life, I didn't really know much about their history or beginnings until this year when I started learning about it to teach Tom and Amelia in preparation for the canonisation.

The best resource I found was this one.

It has letters that Mary wrote and little excepts from the Movie "Mary" by Ronin Films.

Learning about Mary this year has been wonderful. I have seen a women that was committed to her dream of educating the poor and a women that was willing to stand up for what she believed as true. Because of her willingness to stand up for truth, she bore many crosses especially when she was excommunicated.

I have come to realise this year that if Mary hadn't had the determination to live the life that God had chosen for her, there would have been a big hole in my life. I wonder if Catholic Education would have been the influence it was in my brother, sisters and my life or who would have looked after Auntie Ella and my dad when they needed the extra care they needed. The Josephites have served us and helped us to know God in a deeper way.

At my fathers funeral my brother said the following about the care dad had received from the Sisters at Tappeiner Court:
I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the staff at Tappeiner Court. Dad spent the last 5 years of his life in this marvellous nursing home. It was a great comfort to dad and his family that he was so well cared for. Being able to regularly receive the sacraments was a great blessing. I do recall his requests early on, "could you loan me a bus fare?" which spoke of how he missed mum and the family home. That dad lived this long is testament to his great appetite, the great care he received and the strength of his spirit.

I thank God for the Josephite sisters and especially their founder Mary of the Cross.
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