Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillopPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole

The memorial stone commemorates the co-founder of the Josephite Order and Australia`s first Catholic Saint, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (1842 – 1909), now known as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was an Australian nun who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church. Of Scottish descent, she was born in Melbourne, but was best known for her activities in South Australia. Together with Reverend Julian Tenison Woods, she founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australasia, with an emphasis on education for the rural poor.

After the founding of the Josephites, Bishop Sheil appointed Woods as director general of Catholic education. Woods came into conflict with some of the clergy over educational matters and local clergy began a campaign to discredit the Josephites. Father Charles Horan met with Bishop Sheil on 21 September 1871 and convinced him that the Josephites' constitution should be changed; the following day, when MacKillop apparently did not accede to the request, Sheil invalidly excommunicated her, citing insubordination as the reason.

Though the Josephites were not disbanded, most of their schools were closed in the wake of this action. Forbidden to have contact with anyone in the church, MacKillop lived with a Jewish family and was also sheltered by Jesuit priests. On his deathbed, Sheil instructed Horan to lift the excommunication on MacKillop. On 21 February 1872, he met her on his way to Willunga and absolved her in the Morphett Vale church. Later, an episcopal commission completely exonerated her.


Address:Main South & Bains Road, St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Morphett Vale, 5162
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.115249
Long: 138.522913
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Saint Mary Mackillop

Co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart

This stone has been erected due to the generosity of the parishioners in the Morphett Vale Catholic Parish, and blessed to commemorate the Canonisation in Rome of Australia's first saint on October 17, 2010.

"It is by love that God has always led me, by love God reproves me, by love that God lets me see love in all." St. Mary Mackillop 15.7.1873

Mary Helen Mackillop
15. 1. 1842 - 8. 8. 1909

The excommunication was lifted here, in St Mary's Church, Morphett Vale on 23rd February 1872

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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