Feastday: St Mary of the Cross (Mary MacKillop) 8th August


St Mary of the Cross

Today is a very special day, here in Australia and New Zealand.

Mary Mackillop is the patroness of Australia and is our first saint. She is dearly loved and respected in this land.

She was one of eight chidren. The Australian colonies were still young and developing. It was within the first 80 years that she started to teach poor children in a stable; and soon after joined a priest to start her religious order of Sisters of St Joseph.

Up to about 1970 when religious orders started to disappear from our schools), you could find these nuns in almost every parish. I myself was educated by these beautiful nuns and have fond memories of them.

St Mary MacKillop had many trials during her whole life – she herself described her early years as “a most unhappy” early life, largely due to financial hardship. Towards the end of her life she suffered a stroke.

To read her life story is inspiring. She even chose her religious name to be Mary of the Cross. She had great courage and zeal. She was even excommunicated  for a time because she did not agree with the bishop.

An article written for her canonisation, said of her:

Mary MacKillop has quite rightly gained a reputation in recent times as ‘The Australian Peoples’ Saint’. Largely, this is because people can relate to her. She was one of us. Born in Melbourne, and fired by a deep desire to serve God and to help alleviate the plight of the poor, Mary was an ordinary person who lived a holy life.

Perhaps it is because of her down to earth nature that we relate to her so well. Mary MacKillop could be feisty and stubborn. She suffered terrible setbacks, discouragement and injustice and yet through all of this her faith in God did not falter. Plagued by ill health for much of her life, she was still able to found a religious institute aimed at serving the poor, particularly in the field of education, which remains a vibrant and active presence in the fabric of Australian life today.

Mary MacKillop is to become a saint not only of the Australian people, but for the Australian people and indeed, for the world. Her motto of “Never see a need without doing something about it” continues to call us forth to action. At a time when real heroes are in short supply, Mary MacKillop is a true inspiration. Her heroism is all the more firm because it is built not on celebrity or sporting skill but on her love for Jesus Christ and a life of dedication to God and her fellow human beings.

( https://www.columban.org.au/media-and-publications/articles/mary-mackillop/blessed-mary-mackillop)

Mary of Cross 692bc245840e5edfd245eab719acc6a2

There are about 800 Sisters of St Joseph, still working with the poor and marginalised in Australia, New Zealand, Timor Leste, Scotland, Ireland and Peru.

sisters of st Joseph logoOne thing I remember, most clearly, that we always wrote “J.M.J” at the top of each page in our exercise books at school. The sisters of St Joseph had a special devotion to the Holy Family. This logo was also on the front of their habits. The habits were dark brown. They had the long Rosary beads draping down the front and had the Crucifix tucked into their belt. The logo was blue.

WE pray today to our dear Saint: we pray for courage, determination, perseverance, charity, for our bishops and most of all our educators.

God knows how we need her prayers in this country (and indeed the world) today!

Some inspirations from St Mary of the Cross

(From her letters to her mother):

Mary wrote to her mother in 1867:

  • Dearest mamma, you ever taught me to look up to and depend on Divine Providence in every trouble and when you saw me dull or unhappy you always had the same sweet reminder for me. Ah do not now forget what you were the first to teach me.
  • Mary wrote again to Flora in January 1868,Oh Mamma let us belong to Him completely and He will take care of us all.”
  • In September 1869 Mary wrote to her mother, “You used to tell me to love the Will of God – to submit to it in all things. Your words still often ring in my ears and I bless God that they were my mother’s word’s to me.”
  • Mary wrote to her mother on 7 January 1868: “God in His infinite mercy has been extremely good to one and all of us. His greatest blessing has been what to the worldly eye appears a severe and heavy trial, or a continuation of trials..

Sr. Mary’s voting advice (to her sisters):

At a time when women had just earned the right to vote, as the Mother Superior of her order, she urged her Sisters to take voting seriously.

Non-Aboriginal women were given the right to vote for the new Commonwealth Parliament in 1901, having first been enfranchised in South Australia in 1894, followed by Western Australia in 1899. Women in Australia first voted for the Commonwealth Parliament in the second Federal election in 1903.

In that year, Mary MacKillop wrote to her Sisters on July 16, directing them to get on the electoral roll, and, according to the conventions of the times, to inform themselves of the issues and the candidates.

“My dear Sisters,

It is a duty on us all to vote, and for this reason all must have their names on the Electoral Rolls where they are placed. See to this at once. Get advice from some leading man in whom you have confidence, or from the priest, but keep your voting secret. Find out who are the members proposed for election and vote for those who are considered most friendly to the Church and Religion. Every so-called Catholic is not the best man. I can say no more, but with love and blessing and praying for God to guide you in this important matter, remain as ever.

Your fond Mother in JMJ,

Mary of the Cross.”

Sr Sheila McCreanor rsj, who arranged and edited the book in which the letter has been published, Mary MacKillop on Mission to her last breath, said Mary’s message to her Sisters remains relevant today.

“I am sure that the essence of her message remains true today – be responsible in casting your vote; weigh up the attitudes and values of those standing for election and above all, pray for wisdom.”

Her life and achievements:

  • Mary MacKillop was born in Victoria in 1842.  She was the eldest child in her family and had 3 sisters and 4 brothers.
  • Her father had an excellent religious education and most of Mary’s education was at home.
  • Mary’s first job was as a clerk when she was 14, she then worked as a governess looking after her cousins and teaching them (and other farm children) their lessons.
  • She loved children and later became a school teacher.
  • In South Australia she met a priest named Father Julian Tenison Woods who also wanted to help poor children attend school.
  • Together Mary MacKillop and Father Tenison Woods started the ‘Stable School’ in 1866.
  • All of the children had lessons in reading, writing, math and singing. The girls also enjoyed learning to sew whilst the boys enjoyed woodwork.  Mary and her sisters also taught the children about God and taught them to trust in Jesus.
  • In 1866 Mary MacKillop and Father Tenison Woods started the religious order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites) and in 1867 Mary MacKillop became a nun – Sister Mary of the Cross.
  • Mary and the Josephite nuns set up schools in Australia and New Zealand.
  • They also set up houses for elderly women, young girls and women without jobs.
  • They gave their life to people in need often giving comfort to the sick and dying and even visiting people in jail to give them whatever help they could.

masry mackillop quote

St Mary of the Cross, pray for us.

Pray for Australia and New Zealand!

JTM prayer Group Meeting Thursday 19th November, 2015

Readings are chosen randomly.

Today’s Prayer theme: Salvation of Souls.

Ignore questions or demands made of you to change My Words13 January 2013

My dearly beloved daughter, you must never forget who your master is.
When you are being dragged in every direction, and when my disciples place enormous loads upon your shoulders, you must resist.
Place yourself in my holy hands, remain alone and ask me to handle everything.
You must only respond to my voice.
Any other voice, which commands you to do my holy work, according to their ways, their interpretations, must be ignored.
Many, who follow this mission, must understand that my holy word may not be scrutinised, changed or adapted to suit others.
My word is sacred.
Accept what I say, in faith, and be content.
Trying to find hidden meanings, sensation, or seek fortune-telling, is offensive to me.
Learn to listen to my voice.
Let it touch your soul and be thankful that I give you this gift of my intimate teachings and desires.
I do this out of compassion for you and because I love you.
To question and demand that I give you the answers you want to hear is insulting to me.
My daughter, please ignore questions or demands made of you to change my words or the meaning of what I say to you.
You do not, as I have told you before, have the authority to do so.
Even when those devious souls plant difficult questions, to which you do not have the answer, remain silent.
To those of you who continue to try and trip me up, by challenging and criticising my holy word, know that you are but a poor weak sinner.
It is not that you ask questions for the good of your soul, which I find displeasing.
It is your refusal to accept that I, Jesus Christ, could ever communicate to the world as I do now.
If you take my word and twist it to suit your way it will become meaningless.
If you then tear it apart, in order to defy this, my holy mission to save this last generation, then you will be thrown to one side.
My plan is powerful now as I lead humanity quickly onwards along the path of truth.
Those who wander and stray will be left behind.
There is only so much time left to save each of you.
Why do you waste it?
Every minute is precious.
Allow me the chance to lead you, teach you and salvage you.
Obedience to me, Your Jesus, is required if I am to help you.
You can only obey me when you surrender your will to me.
When you do this, confusion will no longer be present in your soul.
Your Jesus

Message from the Virgin Mary regarding her lost children
7 June 2011

My child, these last few days have not been easy.
When you obey My Son, that is all that matters.
Please do not allow doubts or fears to come into your heart at this stage, for when they do it is because the deceiver is at work.
Open your heart to allow the graces to flood your soul so that you can become closer to my precious son.
You are now close to your Blessed Mother, who supports you and guides you at all times.
This part of your mission is hard to deal with, but remember that working for My Son is never easy.
You will become stronger, despite your hesitancy, because you still follow his instructions, so this is good.
Pray now for all my lost children everywhere, for they are empty of love, the real love that My Son offers them.
This love is their salvation.
So please offer up all your prayers for these poor, lost souls.
Go now in peace and continue to do everything My Son asks of you, at all times.
Your Blessed Mother
Mary Queen of Heaven

Mother of Salvation: To the priests in the Catholic Church, I urge you to carry my Most Holy Rosary beads
14 October 2013

My dear child, do not believe for one moment, that any of you are strong enough, on your own, to withstand the temptations you will face to turn your back on the Truth – the true Word of God. Without continuous prayers, you will find that you will be unable to stand up and declare the Truth when you are presented with lies.
All of you must recite the Crusade Prayers as the darkness has already begun to descend over my Son’s Church on Earth and you must be prepared for this every second.
To the priests in the Catholic Church, I urge you to carry my Most Holy Rosary beads and a Benedictine Cross with you at all times. You must recite my Holy Rosary every single day and watch out for those in the higher ranks within the Church to see who recites my Holy Rosary in public. When I am being venerated, my Holy Rosary must be recited by all present before me. If they, who say, lead the faithful to seek my assistance before the throne of God, cannot recite my Rosary, then they need your prayers. To come before me, seeking my help, without reciting my Rosary, is without substance, as it is akin to a soldier going into battle without any armour.
My Rosary is the most powerful prayer and, when said daily, will destroy the power of the evil one. Those, whose souls have been darkened by Satan, will find it too painful to recite this prayer. By their actions you will know who they are and you must ask God, through the mercy of my Son, Jesus Christ, to help them to draw towards the light of God.
Your beloved Mother
Mother of Salvation

Douay Rheims Bible: John 12:1-8

[1] Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. [2] And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. [3] Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. [4] Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: [5] Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
[6] Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. [7] Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. [8] For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always.

Summary: 1. Do not change God’s words

2. Pray for the lost souls

3. For priests to carry Rosary Beads and Benedictine Cross at all times. Take note of priests, bishops etc. who cannot say the Rosary in public.

4. Bible reading  – It is interesting that Judas Iscariot (1 of the 12 ), objected to the expensive ointment being used (wasted?) by Mary Magdalen on Jesus’ feet. He thought that it would be better used for the poor. This is a special lesson for the church today.