Celebrating a saint a little early

A GRAVESIDE liturgy for two Josephite nuns will be held on Saturday, when Maryborough’s parish priest will also celebrate the life and work of Australia’s first saint.

“Mary MacKillop will be canonised on Sunday,” Father Paul Kelly said yesterday. “But we’re getting in a bit earlier when we gather in Maryborough Cemetery at 1pm to remember Gertrude of the Sacred Heart, Agnes Byrne, who died in 1873 and Augustine of our Lady of Consolation, Bridget Keogh, who died in 1875.

“This will happen on the occasion of the canonisation of their Mother Superior, Mother Mary of the Cross MacKillop.”

Mary founded a religious order dedicated to educating children and that too will be celebrated on Saturday in the cemetery.

“Mary wrote to her mother on March 22, 1886, saying she had introduced the cardinal to one of her old Adelaide pupils, who had become a station master and was travelling on a free government pass on his vacation, Father Kelly said.

“The cardinal was apparently impressed with how the former pupil had turned out in life.”

The service will praise Mary as a woman of her times, a woman of hope, a woman with determination and a woman of integrity.

On Sunday the masses will be the prayers and readings of the Feast of Mary MacKillop. On Sunday evening from 5.30pm to 8pm at St Mary’s College, Father Kelly says he is working towards a TV viewing of the canonisation with people bringing food to share.

“We are thinking of a gold coin donation for entry, proceeds to St Vincent de Paul.”

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