Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop has been named as Australia’s second patron after the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBD) received a formal decree approving her appointment.
The process to appoint St MacKillop as the second patron of the country was initiated by the Australian Bishops, who expressed the wish to further officially recognise Australia’s first canonised saint.
President of ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart, said he was delighted that the process had led to the confirmation of St MacKillop’s great example.
“In many ways, the process of officially naming her as a second patron was simply confirming what Australian Catholics already see, that the example and vision of Mary MacKillop is our modus operandi as a Church, particularly in our service of the poor and marginalised, and our commitment to Catholic education,” he said.
The decree was issued on January 15, 2013 – on the 171st anniversary of St MacKillop’s birth – by the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Cañizares Llovera.
Australia’s first patron is the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady Help of Christians, which was appointed in 1844 by Pope Pius V.
The congregational leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Anne Derwin, said was another important honour for Australia’s first saint.
“We are all delighted and hope that Mary’s values of generosity, inclusion, kindness, commitment and reliance on God’s Providence and Goodness, become the hallmarks of our country.”
St MacKillop was born to Catholic Scottish immigrant on January 15, 1842 in Fitzroy, Melbourne and was the eldest of eight children.
In 1867 she became the first sister and Mother Superior of the newly formed order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
She died on August 8, 1909 in the Josephite convent in North Sydney and after a long campaign by her order she was canonised on October 17, 2010.