This Saturday 17 October 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Saint Mary MacKillop’s canonisation at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, declaring her Australia’s first canonised saint. Pope Benedict XVI addressed tens of thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square. About 9000 Australians travelled to celebrate this occasion.
For Catholic, Christian and secular Australians, it was a meaningful moment, celebrating the values at the heart of what it means to be Australian, as well as her witness to the sacred in everyday life. Ten years on, the Sisters of Saint Joseph invite the Australian community to take this opportunity to reflect on what the canonisation of Saint Mary MacKillop meant to Australians then, and what it means to us now.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Mary MacKillop and the wonderful life and legacy she left behind, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart are pleased to remember her with commemorative prayers, videos, and a global vigil in her honour.
Inspiring all Australians to take courage and maintain hope as Mary did throughout her life, the theme chosen for this celebration is ‘Take Fresh Courage’. This theme chosen against the backdrop of the many challenges Australians have faced in 2020 is taken from a letter written by St Mary MacKillop in 1877.
On 16 October 2020 at 8pm AEST, the Sisters of Saint Joseph will hold Courage Hour, a global vigil of deep peace, prayer, and reflection. The Sisters invite all who may wish to participate to join the Vigil online and celebrate Mary’s life and follow her lead to ‘Take Fresh Courage’.
Sister Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, said, 'The 10th anniversary of Saint Mary MacKillop’s canonisation is a chance for us to reflect on Mary’s legacy and the valuable lessons her life experiences have taught us.
'She faced hard times and adversity over the years, from her family’s poverty to the loss of many loved ones throughout her life. She carried on, strengthened by her faith and her determination to serve others. She worked hard, travelled widely, and spoke courageously in love. She was a woman of strong convictions and great energy who treasured friendship and family. Mary always had a place in her heart for those most challenged by life’s circumstances.
'I am proud that the Sisters of Saint Joseph continue to follow in her footsteps today and people from around the world find inspiration in her example.
10 years on from the day when Pope Benedict XVI declared her a Saint, people everywhere are invited to take this moment to remember Mary’s faith, tenacity and dedication to others, and her inspiration to “Take Fresh Courage.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no formal celebrations at Mary MacKillop Place for the anniversary, however, the Sisters invite you to celebrate this occasion by engaging with the resources available on their website.
A global vigil of deep peace, prayer, and reflection on 16 October 2020 at 8pm wherever you are.
Encountering St Mary MacKillop in Prayer is a commemorative prayer booklet that features significant moments in Mary’s life and highlights her values and spirit. The prayer booklet includes instructions and a script for Courage Hour for those who wish to join us to ‘Take Fresh Courage’, join together in hope, and remember Saint Mary MacKillop. The prayer book will also available on the website in Spanish, Italian and Vietnamese.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph have produced a series of inspiring videos that feature people from diverse backgrounds in reflection on how Saint Mary helps them in their lives today.
Melbourne Catholic11 February 2021