Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia’s first Saint.
Mary was born in 1842 in Melbourne and died on August 8, 1909 in North Sydney, 110 years ago today.
Mary spent her entire life helping those who had been made poor; she understood the crushing nature of poverty, having experienced it herself as a young girl, and she recognised how poverty worked as a barrier to opportunities that many others enjoyed. Through all the challenges and trials of her life she remained incredibly strong in her faith and true to her vow of poverty. She defended the weak, empowered the oppressed and stood up against corruption even at great cost to herself. She was supported by friends from all walks of life, religions and social classes and she worked in ways that helped people to realise their own worth and potential.
We don’t have to look far to see that Mary’s legacy continues today in the work of those who teach us, who see our strengths and abilities and help us to overcome obstacles and problems so that we can reach our full potential. Sometimes this might just be a conversation, advice or support from a friend, coach or teacher or it might be ongoing specific help in meeting a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
For the children at the Mary Rice Centre this care, devotion and love is evident every day in the work of their dedicated teachers. Just like Mary Mackillop, many of the teachers at the Mary Rice Centre make great personal sacrifices to be present for the most marginalised children of the Kibera and Southside slums. They live very humble lives, travel great distances to work and put in long hours including weekends and holidays. But most importantly they see the strengths, abilities and potential in every child. They live Mary’s example by helping these children to achieve, learn and grow, despite incredible poverty and disadvantage.
They work “on with Constancy and Courage”.
Esther - Occupational Therapist at MRC
In Mary MacKillop you show us a woman of faith
Who lived by the power of your cross and showed us new ways of living the Gospel.
May the example of Mary MacKillop’s life of service awaken in us a passion for justice and a deep commitment for those who have been made poor.
Help us to live in ways that respect and defend the human dignity of all, both here in Australia and overseas.
May we be brave enough to stand alongside those who challenge hypocrisy, corruption and weakness and who speak up against injustice.
May we share in Mary’s courage, see with her vision, and love with her heart.
St Mary of the Cross Mackillop – Pray for us