Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mary MacKillop declared a saint

Out of ABC News...

Mary MacKillop has officially been declared Australia's first Catholic saint - Saint Mary MacKillop of the Cross.

Pope Benedict addressed over 50,000 pilgrims who gathered at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome.

A ripple of joy passed through the thousands of Australians spread throughout the crowd when the announcement was made.

Speaking in Latin, the pope also canonised Canada's Brother Andre and four other saints from Italy, Poland and Spain and declared that "throughout the Church they be honoured devoutly among all the saints".

Reading out the many things for which Saint Mary was known, Archbishop Omata said she was dedicated to teaching.

"Notwithstanding many sorrowful trials the small community began to grow and to be diffused throughout the Australian continent and despite personal difficulties Sister Mary never lost the generosity of her spirit or her complete confidence in divine providence," he said.

About 9,000 Australians made the pilgrimage to Rome, including hundreds of nuns from the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the order that Saint Mary helped found.

"Oh, it's just wonderful," said Moya Campbell, 65, a Josephite sister dressed in the order's distinctive turquoise scarf.

"We've always believed that Mary was a saint."

Sister Campbell said Saint Mary's most important legacy for Australia was "the vision she had for education".

"She was the first one to go into rural areas. She saw the need."

In central Sydney, up to 4000 people packed the forecourt of Saint Mary's Cathedral to witness the canonisation ceremony.

Some families arrived around midday, setting up in front of the big screen that beamed the proceedings live from the Vatican.

Sydneysider Maria Cakarun was there with her mother and two young children and says it is an emotional event.

"Very cheery and just hoping that it all sort of bringeth home to a lot of Catholics about practising again," she said.

"It would be lovely to get more people back to the Church and actually believe the true belief, rather than just say cafeteria Catholics. I hope that her canonisation now will bring a lot of hope to a lot of Catholics that have maybe lost hope in the past."

The Sydney celebration was one of many around Australia, with thousands of people including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Victorian Premier John Brumby and many families and school groups flocking to the Exhibition building in Carlton throughout today.

A festival to celebrate Saint Mary's life and time in Melbourne was held this afternoon, before the crowd moved inside to watch the canonisation telecast from the Vatican.

In Penola, the small South Australian town where Saint Mary founded the order, about 8,000 people travelled to be part of the celebrations.

Over 5,000 took part in an open-air mass on the town's school oval, while more visitors wandered the streets, looking at sites of significance in Saint Mary's life.


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