Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Tribute to Mary MacKillop

Tonight I heard a Josephite nun talk about Mary MacKillop. MacKillop founded the order of Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and is the only Australian to be beatified. She has an amazing story and I learnt a lot, considering that my previous knowledge of her was close to non-existent.

One of the amazing things about Mary MacKillop was that she was (unjustly) excommunicated from the Catholic Church for five months before she was eventually reinstated. Her conduct during the whole ordeal was exemplary and she never spoke an ill word about those who accused her of insubordination. I can only imagine that this would have taken a great deal of faith on her part and she deserves to be profoundly admired for this response alone.

I admit that I didn't realise that Mary MacKillop was so dedicated to social justice. Yet at the same time she maintained a rich and vibrant spirituality. In this respect, she was a "practical mystic" - something that I think is worth striving for.

Perhaps the most interesting consideration of the evening was a testimony from a Josephite nun who did some mission work in Sudan and decided that she needed a law degree to work effectively there. While this impressed me, the thing that really stuck with me is her suggesting that Christian lawyers were needed to work on the behalf of the indigenous community in Australia. You know, I think that might be a really worthy ambition. I'm just wondering where I should start, considering how little exposure I have had with the indigenous community thus far.

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