Over 50,000 people had gathered
together in St.Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Rome to witness the canonization
of Bl. Mary MacKillop on Sunday. She is the first Roman Catholic saint from Australia.
First born of Scottish migrant
parents, she started working as a clerk and later a governess to help provide financial
support to her large family. As a governess, she started educating the farm
children in the estate where she stayed. This laid the foundation to her later
work and ministry. In 1867 she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St.
Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the first order founded by an Australian. She
started her first school along with two of her siblings in a stable in Penola,
an establishment dedicated to the education of the poor. Before her death in
1909, many educational establishments had been set up by the Josephites in the
outback or bush area where the people are poor and often uneducated. Today the
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart has spread across
Australia, U.K. and parts of South
America. In 1965, prayer for MacKillop’s intercession apparently cured
Veronica Hopson of terminal leukemia. She was beatified in 1995, when the
church recognized this as a miracle. The 2009, a papal decree was issued
recognizing the cure of Kathleen Evans from lung and brain cancer as the second
Around 140 Josephite sisters
attended the canonization ritual. Uncontained tears of joy ran down their
cheeks as they watched Pope Benedict XVI announce her sainthood in the ancient
religious language of Latin. The canonization itself took a mere 15 minutes as
Kathleen Evans as a representative of Saint Mary of the Cross took a relic to
be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
The event was declared as a day
of celebration for entire Australia.