Learning about Saint Mary of the Cross

OUR SHINNING LIGHT:  Catholic Bishop Michael McKenna, addresses the congregation during a prayer liturgy for the Mackillop Cross Pilgrimage held at the Sisters of Saint Joseph's Chapel in Perthville.  Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK  090610cross3a
OUR SHINNING LIGHT: Catholic Bishop Michael McKenna, addresses the congregation during a prayer liturgy for the Mackillop Cross Pilgrimage held at the Sisters of Saint Joseph's Chapel in Perthville. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 090610cross3a

SCHOOL students from across the region gained a better understanding yesterday about the woman who will become Australia’s first saint in 40 days.

Known as Blessed Mary of the Cross, Mary MacKillop will become Saint Mary of the Cross on October 17, when Pope Benedict XVI will formally declare her a saint. As part of the build up to the historical day, a cross constructed using floorboards from Mary Mackillop’s original school house in Penola has been touring historical sites as part of a pilgrimage.

Yesterday Bishop Michael McKenna joined students from Holy Family, Cathedral School, Assumption School, MacKillop College and students from other towns as the cross arrived at the Sisters of St Joseph’s convent in Perthville. During the ceremony Bishop McKenna discussed the significance of the cross and how Mary’s lessons are still important in modern society.

“When people see the cross they tend to shy away and avoid it because it can be seen as a symbol of suffering and loss,” he said. “What Mary MacKillop did was discover that the cross was not just suffering, not just pain but a gateway to fullness of life.”

The MacKillop Cross has a rich history.

After a mass in the Church of St Joseph in Penola, the timbers of the floor of Mary Mackillop’s first school house were resurrected. Two crosses were made: the first was presented to Pope John Paul II during the Randwick Mass in 1986 and the second is currently touring Australia.