Mary MacKillop was an ordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life.
Mary’s motto: “Never see a need without doing something about it”
Born of Scottish immigrant parents, the eldest of eight children, Mary received good education from her father, but grew up in poverty, as he was not a good provider for the family. From an early age, she worked hard to support her mother and younger siblings.
In 1866, she began a school in a disused stable in Penola, South Australia, and young women with a similar passion for caring for those in need joined her, and thus was born the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph (known affectionately in Australia as the Josephites or ‘Joeys’). The Sisters quickly spread to remote outback areas and to the cities, offering education to poor children. Mary also established orphanages, homes to care for those who were destitute, and refuges for former prisoners and prostituted women who wished to make a fresh start in life.
Read more about Australia’s first Saint, Mary MacKillop, from the women who know her best and who continue to walk in her footsteps, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
Mary is a model for our time, living the Christian message by what she did and said:
Mary the Dreamer, “Believe in the whisperings of God in your own heart” (1868)
Mary the Visionary, “Never see a need without doing something about it” (1871)
Mary the Teacher, “We must teach more by example than by word” (1867)
Mary the Trusting one, “When I could not see my way God kept my heart full of trust” (1874).
Mary the Practical one, “Do all you can with the means at your disposal and calmly leave the rest to God” (1891)
Mary the Courageous one, “Have courage no matter what your crosses are” (1890)
Mary the Leader, “God will carry you safely through every struggle” (1870)
Mary the Contemplative one, “Believe in the whisperings of God in your own heart” (1868)
Image: MMKT6 Mary 1882
©Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph. Used with permission of the Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph.