Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – There is great joy and enthusiasm in the Catholic community in Australia for the official news: Sister Mary MacKillop will be canonized at the Vatican on October 17, 2010, becoming the first Australian saint.
The order Mary MacKillop founded, the Sisters of St Joseph were overjoyed with the news, especially the Postulator for the Cause, Sr. Maria Casey who was at the Vatican for the announcement. Speaking from Rome, Sr. Casey said the news confirms Mary's work and legacy has great relevance in today's busy world.
The saint has worked her entire life in education in the faith, establishing several schools throughout Australia, particularly in rural areas.
According to a statement sent to Fides, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell said he was delighted with the news. Cardinal Pell said although the process has taken 85 years, this is a relatively short time for a young country – especially when other causes have taken centuries! "Mary MacKillop stands at the heart of the Catholic tradition," Cardinal Pell said. "She had great ability to forgive and showed immense loyalty not only to her fellow sisters but to the Church leadership which did not always treat her well...Yet Mary was a very normal person and a great role model for all Australians. Mary MacKillop is a very worthy saint for Australia, an important first for all of us," he said.
The Australian Church has already launched the organization of the pilgrimage of the faithful to attend the canonization ceremony in St. Peter's. Thousands are expected to attend. There is also a website available to all the faithful interested in the pilgrimage.
Sister Mary (1842-1909) focused her mission on offering Christian education to poor children. The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, which she founded, is present in Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Uganda. She is buried in the convent of Mount Street, north of Sydney. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on January 19, 1995 in Sydney. Pope Benedict XVI, a pilgrim in Australia for WYD 2008, went to pray at the tomb of the Blessed. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/2/2010)