Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop & the Sisters of St JosephPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Paul Scott

The plaque commemorates the work of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph in developing Catholic Eduction in Willunga from 1868 to 1882.

While acting as a governess to her uncle's children at Penola, Mary Mackillop met Father Julian Tenison Woods who, with a parish of 56,000 square kilometres, needed help in the religious education of children in the outback. At the time Mary's family depended on her income so she was not free to follow her dream. However, in 1866, greatly inspired and encouraged by Father Woods, Mary opened the first Saint Joseph's School in a disused stable in Penola.

Young women came to join Mary, and so the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph was begun. In 1867, Mary was asked by Bishop Shiel to come to Adelaide to start a school. From there, the Sisters spread, in groups to small outback settlements and large cities around Australia, New Zealand, and now in Peru, Brazil and refugee camps of Uganda and Thailand. Mary and these early Sisters, together with other Religious Orders and Lay Teachers of the time, had a profound influence on the forming of Catholic Education as we have come to know and experience it today.

Mary MacKillop was Canonised on October 17, 2010 at St Peter's Basilica, Rome. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Mary's sainthood during the Canonisation Mass.


Address:12 St Judes Street, Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, Willunga, 5172
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.275932
Long: 138.557519
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture
Approx. Event Start Date:1868
Approx. Event End Date:1882


Front Inscription

We acknowledge the life of Blessed Mary McKillop and her Sisters of Saint Joseph in developing Catholic education for  the children of Willunga 

1868 - 1882

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