Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria on 15th January, 1842. Her parents were Alexander MacKillop and Flora MacDonald. Both were born in Scotland.
Mary MacKillop established the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. The first community and school were in Penola in South Australia; and by the time of her death on 8th August 1909 her religious order had spread across Australia and to New Zealand.
Mother Mary of the Cross MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Sydney on 19th January 1995; and her canonisation took place in Rome on 17th October, 2010.
The pilgrims from Swan Hill that attended the canonisation in Rome were Fr. Peter Hudson, Br Tony Paterson, Mrs Julie Pilgrim and students: Catelyn Pryor, Tamekah Chapman, Georgia Gray and Kyle Ford.
‘There, where you are you will find God.’
These words of Mary MacKillop in 1871 and the teaching of Julian Tenison Woods ‘for us to have faith in God’s presence in every circumstance’, sums up what spirituality is for the Sisters of St Joseph.
Spirituality is the name we give to the inner quest as the human heart seeks meaning and recognises that there is a dimension of life that leads us to the transcendent, the Other, our God. For all of us this is a unique search that flows from the life experiences that shape and influence us.
Since the time of Mary and Julian, Josephite Sisters and others have reflected deeply on the spirituality of these two people. A spiritual tradition has developed and resonates in the hearts of many people today.
It is this spirituality that we seek to incorporate into all that we do at St Mary MacKillop College.