Stirrings of the Spirit

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Forgiveness of sins

I was reading a story the other day about a person who works in the church. Some people who knew this person in the past found out about his new employment (although at this point, its been over a year) and judging him based on past actions decided that other needed to be informed of these misdeeds and what they perceived at his inappropriateness to be employed in a church setting. Cue anonymous letters being sent to others employed in that church.

I’ve been reflecting on this concept. I don’t know the outcome of this story yet. Maybe he’s currently guilty of such sins. Maybe he did them in the past, but left them in the past. Maybe all the accusations are all false. I don’t know.

But I do know about my life. My past isn’t entirely saintly. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made some pretty bad decisions. I’ve been coerced into things I wasn’t comfortable with at the time, but still have to live with now. I would say that I’m not alone with this. A lot of people might have something in the past that’s just best left there.

I suppose if someone was to take a disliking to me, or someone from my past decided they still had an axe to grind, they could probably send out anonymous letters to my employer and colleagues and people involved in my ministry. People could judge me in such acts.

However the most important thing from my past is the redemptive power of Jesus. Jesus forgave me. Jesus continues to forgive me. The things in my past have become distant memories and perhaps cautionary tales. I’ve been freed from the shame they once held over me. I’ve been to reconciliation and was absolved from those sins. I cried tears of joy as I was released from a sin I didn’t even know was weighing me down so much. To me, that is the most important part of my story.

I’d be pretty upset if someone anonymously spread my past actions around to others. I’d probably discuss it with anyone who wanted to know about it. Although I probably don’t want my boss or my parents to know.

Although, thinking about all this did prompt a conversation with my boss about this whole idea. “Should I just tell you all my secrets now in case someone wants to anonymously tell you in the future?” I think he’d rather skip that whole saga.

Perhaps its the keeping these things secret that gives these things all their power.

So in case anyone wanted to know, I sinned in my past. I was forgiven for those sins.

I will sin in the future, though hopefully not to any dramatic extreme, and i hope i will seek the forgiveness of Jesus and those I hurt once again. I have been ashamed of my past sins, but I don’t need to be ashamed of being a sinner. That’s in my nature. And its the nature of all those I admire greatly.

“But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk that the Lord won’t forget our [sins]. That’s a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope.”  Pope Francis, 28th July 2012 Full Transcript to be found here.

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October 23, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Spirituality | , , | Leave a comment

The Heart Mender

It took me a while to get around to finishing this book.  It’s a lovely story, but I kept finding myself distracted from it. It wasn’t until I was on pilgrimage in spain that I could really focus on finishing it.  Although, that’s kind of strange, as it was a very hectic trip, that was at times very busy, but it was nice, at the end of the day, to be able to unwind with this story of forgiveness and love.

The Author, Andy Andrews, tells the story based on some objects he finds buried in his back yard. He digs around further, asking some of the older locals in the community, and uncovers a treasure you wouldn’t expect. Instead of gold, he learns of the story of people during the war, the hurt they had endured, and the love they use to overcome that pain.

This is a story of real love.  Two damaged people find each other, and as time goes by, discover they are open to love after being closed to it for so long. You can feel the anger of the young woman towards those around her, as she holds on to what she has lost, and the sadness of a young man who can’t even imagine where his future may lead him, as he is so tied to the people he lost in his past. 

The ultimate theme is forgiveness.  I think that is my favourite thing about his book.  Perhaps it’s a theme that rings true in my own life and relationships.  There was one night on the pilgrimage during prayer, that the young people felt this, unconnected to the book.  Our bishop had preached on forgiveness earlier that day, and that night in prayer, they shared about the things the needed to forgive.  It was beautiful.  In my own prayer, I thanked God for allowing me to be able to forgive certain people in my own past, as it allowed me to open myself up to some amazing experiences, including the man I married. 

I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in WWII history and enjoy a good heart felt story. 

 

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September 22, 2011 Posted by | Spirituality | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilgrimage insights

Just over a month ago, I left for Spain to attend WYD with 52 people from the Diocese.  The previous seven months of work had culminated to this moment.

World Youth Day has always been a rewarding experience for me. I remember my first one, our leaders kept telling us that it wasn’t a life changing moment, but a life confirming moment.  Its really hard to know. I don’t know what direction my life would take without these experiences.  I feel incredibly blessed that I have now just experienced my forth WYD.

My prayer in the months leading up to our departure was that I would be able to help create the life confirming experience that I had for these young people.  I really wasn’t sure how they would take it, or if they were prepared enough, but I had done all that I was capable of, and handed the rest over to God.  The group was blessed with an inspiring bishop, engaging priests, committed teachers and open-hearted young people.

Our pilgrimage travelled around Spain before arriving in Madrid for WYD.  Things really kicked off in Loyola where we visited the home of St Ignatius, where he was born and grew up, and more importantly, where he had his personal conversion.  The bishop told us of that Ignatian concept of being able to find God in everything.  God isn’t just with us in the moments where we are at church or when we are praying. He is there through it all.  The students really took hold of this idea, and it was continually referred to again and again in the days to come. They found God in all sorts of moments, and were keen to share them with each other. Evening prayer with them was always a beautiful experience.

We also visited Avila, home of saints like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and John of Avila. In fact, the monastry we stayed in, apparently used to be where Teresa used to go for confession.

We visited many churches and cathedrals throughout Spain, including the cathedral in Seville, apparently the biggest in the world, and the cathedral in Cordoba, which used to be a mosque, that was converted into a Catholic church, after the muslims had to leave Spain.  The buildings were amazing, and filled with equally amazing stories. The history of each building just blew us away.  Especially being from Australia, where permanent buildings have only been around for 200 and so years, the concept of how old these buildings are just seems so foreign.

I am inspired by the people who created these buildings, these churches and cathedrals, and the works of art they contain.  I think about how they must have been filled with so much awe and love for God, to be able to be so inspired to create these for us to enjoy for centuries afterwards.

I think that is the concept that has touched me most during the pilgrimage.  I say I learn something new from each WYD experience, and this year I’ve learn about creation.  I have to question what I am creating from my own inspiration from God.  I don’t have talents in painting or sculpture or architecture or building, but I must be able to create something.  What am I creating? It doesn’t have to be something that lasts for centuries, but there must be something that I can create in this moment for the love of God.  Its something I prayed about on pilgrimage and the weeks afterwards, and the major thing that comes to mind is community.  I can help create a community for God. I can help people find other people to share their faith with and walk the journey together.  It is kind of my job, but I am inspired in just how important it is to have other faith filled people on the journey with you, and I want to be able to help those people find each other, so that they can be empowered and continue on this journey. Maybe one day, I will be called to create a family.  I’m not sure.  But for now, it is creating that sense of community that I am striving for.

Hopefully I will have a chance to write about the actual WYD events. They were an adventure in themself.

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Faith, Saints, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Isidore and Maria – Saintly Marriage

As we prepare for World Youth Day in Madrid this year, I have been encouraging the pilgrims to get to know some of the WYD11 Patron Saints.  Every WYD has a different series of patron saints that usually have some sort of connection to the country, or young people.  Spain is a country of great saints, like St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. But its the lesser known saints that I am enjoying getting to know better. 

Two of this year’s saints are St Isidore the Worker and  Maria of the Head.  The reason I feel so drawn to these two is because they were married. A colleague made a joke when reading the biography of one of them and it stated that he was married to a saint, and this person groaned and said “Can you imagine being married to a saint?” but I pointed out that he was also a saint, so it was probably ok.  They lived their life with simplicity and hard work.

These two are great reminders of the importance of the vocation of marriage.  So often, the most popular saints are priests and religious, living their life in complete devotion to God. It can sometimes be a struggle to relate to that sort of life when you are struggling to balance the demands of your job while still spending quality time with your spouse.  Those moments when you finish work at 7pm and you feel that you should go to Adoration, but you know that your husband is at home waiting for you after not seeing you because you were away for the weekend. 

Isidore and Maria were able to remind me that I was called to marriage, and that it is through my husband, that I am able to find the strength and love to be able to serve God in the way that I do.  Just because it looks different to the way a priest or a nun might do it, doesn’t make that any less worthy. 

The legend behind St Isidore the Worker is the way he united his worklife with his prayer life.  He would always attend Mass before starting work.  The other coworkers reported him to the boss for not doing as much work as the others.  The boss checked up on him and found that although he was late for work, an angel had been doing his work for him. 

These stories have a way of developing over time into something that feels unbelievable.  The other WYD leader working with me often laments with me that angels have shown up to do our job for us, but we usually don’t make it to daily Mass either.  It reminds me of a time in high school where I declared I didn’t have enough time to join the family in prayer that evening because I had way too much homework.  My old aunty was staying at the time, and told me that I would find the time, if I gave some time for God first. So I joined the family in prayer and went off to do my homework, to discover that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and I finished in half the time that I had scheduled.  I always try to remember that story whenever I feel that my time management is failing and that I don’t have the time for Mass or prayer.

I’ve really enjoyed learning about these two saints and can’t wait to maybe experience more of their story while in Spain this August. 

 

June 22, 2011 Posted by | Faith, Saints, Spirituality | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love of the Poor

“When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus.  We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus” – St Rose of Lima

Someone tweeted this the other day, and it seemed to be a good reminder for me, of how as Christian we are called to serve the poor.  And while I know this, I struggle with it.  It is something that has been playing on my conscience since getting married and moving into the neighbourhood that we now live.

The week I moved in was the same week that a Meth Lab was busted across the road.  I suppose that set the tone for our time there, and we seem to experience a few things that make very interesting stories in the retelling.  The tenant that lived in the house before us sounds like a lovely woman.  She was happy to have people come to her house, and they would stay in the front yard at times they couldn’t get into the drug rehabilitation centre across the road (seperate to the meth lab).  The neighbours mentioned when I moved in not to be too worried if there were people sleeping in my garden when I came out for my morning coffee, because that’s just what happened.  So prior to moving in, we informed those people there were new tenants, and they’d have to find somewhere else to sleep. 

Its difficult to find that balance between helping the poor and keeping your own safety.  We live less than a block away from the St Vincent de Paul Office, but they usually aren’t open when I encounter these people, so I can’t, at that moment, delegate it to someone else more suitable to deal with the problem. 

On the weekend, I was at a church to practice reading for the Easter services.  A man came into the church looking for help.  I did try to delegate it elsewhere, but with no luck. Everyone I rang wasn’t answering.  So I opened up my wallet and found a $50 note and gave him that in the hope he’d find somewhere to spend the night before seeking help the next day. He said he had lost his job, and as a result couldn’t pay his rent and was evicted on Friday night.  I hope that he found a room at a cheap backpacker’s hostel or something, and was able to sleep safely and comfortably that night. 

I was shocked at my willingness to give, but can only put it down to location. The people that come to my house, sometimes ask for a couple of dollars and I’m always reluctant to give it to them. I instantly shut them out, when I should be opening my heart to them. 

In a conversation with someone recently, I mentioned this struggle I feel, and said that maybe God was giving me these opportunities to improve that part of myself.  The Bishop that I work with overheard me and said that he’s looking forward to see how I go with this, especially after identifying it as being sent by God. 

I should learn to not say such things around him.

The saints are such examples of living and working with the poor.  I try to draw from that example, but every time fail to live up to it.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Faith, Spirituality | , , , , | 1 Comment

World Youth Day Experiences

My deposit has now been paid to attend the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain and I am suddenly feeling exuberant and alive and excited at the possibilities. Its taken be a bit by surprise, because for the last year or so, I have been tossing up whether or not I should go, and ultimately decided that I wouldn’t.  I have been to three World Youth Days in the past both as a participant and also leading a group.  I wondered if maybe I had gained all I could from the World Youth Day experience and thought I’d step aside and leave the space open for someone else to take.  Also, now that I am married, my priorities are different, and 18 days is a long time to be away from my husband, plus it would put on quite a strain on our budget. 

Those plans changed.  I will be starting a new job in January, and part of the job description will be to lead the Diocesan group to Spain.  Something that I had dismissed months ago as not being for me, is now suddenly a source of great excitement.   However, keep me in your prayers.  I don’t know if excitement is all I’m going to be feeling over the next eight months.

My first World Youth Day was Toronto 2002.  As a Due South fan, it was always my dream to go to Canada, and then combined with a World Youth Day, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.  It was the first time my diocese had ever sent people to a World Youth Day, and I went with two other young women.  It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by so many other young Catholics. I came from a small parish, with mostly older people.  I’m sure its not the only parish in the world like that. Where you are the young person, and the next youngest are your parents.  It came be disheartening at times, but after my first World Youth Day experience, there was no way I could go back home thinking I was the only young Catholic in the world.  That memory will always stay with me.

My next World Youth Day was Cologne 2005.   It wasn’t a good year for me.  I had lost my job in December 2004 due to the small business I worked for going bankrupt.  It was taking longer than expected to find a new one.  I also had to end a serious relationship earlier that year. It was one of the darkest times of my life.  There were moment I seriously thought that God had just abandoned me.  Yet somehow through all the sadness, and a lack of income, I found my way to Germany.  My church community had raised enough money to cover half my costs.  It was an incredible effort, and one that I will also be extremely grateful for. It was exactly what I needed.  I rediscovered the Love of God, and renewed my faith in him, and realised that no matter how dark I perceived things to be, God would never ever abandon me.  That trip also included a pilgrimage in Turkey and Greece.  Neither were places I probably would have gone on my own volition, but they are incredible countries. I cannot wake for another opportunity to visit Turkey and the Greek islands again. 

The last WYD I attended was Sydney 2008.  I led a group from my parish of 20 people.  I probably went into the challenge a little idealise and naive, expecting everyone to get along and behave themselves and not get into any mischief.  Its possible that some people in my group had different ideas.  Once again, the church community played a big role in getting the group there.  As it was in Australia, less money was needed to get people there, so we were able to fundraise enough money to cover all the costs of registration and travel for everyone attending WYD from our parish.  I think that most of the people had a great time. They got to experience that wonder of being part of a global community, and that faith in Jesus conquers barriers such as language and culture.  I had plenty of stressed out moments, but it warms my heart to hear one of them tell me it was the best experience of their life.  I think the lesson I learned from that WYD was that I have something to offer the church.  No matter how small and insignigicant it may seem at times, I have something to give.  Whether it be typing minutes from a parish meeting, leading a youth group, driving someone to Mass, becoming a reader, or praying for someone who is sick, we all have something to give. 

And now Madrid is just around the corner. I’m a little bit wiser this time around, so hopefully won’t make the same mistakes as last time.  I am hoping for another wonderful experience, and wonder what will be revealed to me this time.   I hope and pray that I will be able to facilitate an experience for the young people attending World Youth Day with me, that they will be open to learn their own gifts and the messages that God has for them. I hope that WYD will be as rewarding an experience for them as it has been for me.

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December 7, 2010 Posted by | Faith, Spirituality | , , , | 1 Comment

A bouquet of prayers

The Rosary is a prayer that I grew up with.  We used to pray it as a family every night.  My sister and I had a roster of whose turn it was to lead each night.  We weren’t always fans of saying it, and we quite often tried to get out of it, or rush our way through it so that we could start our evening of TV watching.  My dad always insisted that we would pray it, and we’d usually comply. 

At some point, I became aware that this family Rosary time wasn’t exactly ‘normal’.  If friends came over for dinner or to sleep over, we still had to say the Rosary, which would be an interesting and new experience for them, that usually painted an image of my family as ultra-religious.  There was a joke in my class that I bathed in holy water.

During High School Religion classes, people sometimes asked questions about the Rosary, that not even the teachers could answer, that I knew the answer to.  It seems that the prayer so popular in my parents era had slowly faded out into obscurity.  I’m not a regular Rosary prayer now, but some people see me as some sort of Rosary ‘expert’ due to my past experiences. 

For those of you who aren’t aware, the Rosary is an ancient prayer that started with the monks praying the 150 psalms.  Locals were enchanted with this form of prayer, but it was difficult for them to learn the pslams as there weren’t many printed copies and not everyone could read, as well as being quite lengthy to remember.  The people would replace this with 150 Lord’s prayers, using a pouch of 150 pebbles to keep count.  For practical reasons, some people changed to a string of 150 knots.  Over time, the Rosary evolved into what we have today.  The Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries were developed to use as a reflection on different parts of the life of Jesus.  in more recent times, Pope John Paul II also added the Luminous Mysteries. 

I was recently asked to do a workshop on the Rosary at a gathering of young people.  I agreed to it, but I didn’t think anyone would be very interested in it.  One person immediately expressed interest as soon as she heard about it.  When it came time to sign up to the workshops, I was surprised at how eager people were to sign up to the Rosary workshop, especially considering the much more popular people leading the other workshops.  I got concerned when a nun signed up for my group.  I was worried that maybe i didn’t have enough experience, and i wasn’t sure why I would be asked to run the workshop when it seemed there was a spare nun around who could do it.  Apart from the nun, everyone else in the workshop had never prayed the Rosary before.  some of them owned Rosary beads, as it was a typically Catholic thing to be associated with, but none of them had ever used it. I explained the history of it, the prayers used and the order of the prayers before praying five decades together as a group. 

I was grateful to have the nun with us as she shared her own experiences of growing up praying the Rosary with her family.  She told how her family would go to the movies every fortnight, and all the kids would sit in the back of the utility, and have to yell out their responses very loudly so their parents could hear them.  I imagine it would be quite a site for those they passed in traffic.  She said that it was a very special moment for her, after her life time of Rosaries, to pray it with a group of people saying it for the first time. 

At the end of the day, people were asked to share their highlights of the day, and quite a few people explained that learning the Rosary was something very important to them.  One young woman explained how she had always seen her grandmother praying it, and now she had felt she could share that with her.  I got another email on the weekend from another girl who had participated in the workshops saying that she had started a Rosary prayer group at her school.  It seems that young people have a huge desire for this style of prayer. 

I claim that I’m surprised by it, but a couple of years ago, I had a similar experience. The group I went with to World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 were always very excited to pray the Rosary together.  One night, one of the girls in the group decided to listen through the adjoining door, to hear what boys talk about when girls aren’t around, and was taken aback to hear them praying the Rosary.  On returning from World Youth Day, some of the group had started praying it together.  One of the guys stated he was really excited that the Rosary wasn’t just a prayer for people like his Grandmother and her friends. 

The Rosary is a great comfort to me when I want to pray but don’t know what to say specifically.  Its also a great way to connect with others in prayer.  It seems that young people have a strong desire for this format, and its been dismissed for far too long as being ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘too traditional’.  Young people obviously long for all styles of prayer, but the Rosary is something that has stood the test of time, so maybe we should give it some more credit. 

If you are interested in learning the Rosary yourself, or helping someone else to learn, here is a great resource to use. 

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Prayer, Spirituality | , | 2 Comments

Being a part of the Body of Christ

Recently Anne Rice declared on her Facebook and twitter that she had decided to ‘quit being a Christian’.  She went on to say It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group

I find it very sad  that is has come to this. My experience with Christianity and Christians in general has been a rather positive one, but I know that is not the same for all people. 

At the same time as announcing leaving Christianity, she has also said that she remains committed to Christ.  But is it really possible to be committed to Christ while not being  a part of Christianity.  Christianity isn’t just another group or a club or an organization.  You can’t withdraw from its membership while still believing in its ideals.  Being a Christian, and being committed to Jesus, means being a part of his mystical body.  This is shown in scripture when he addresses Saul on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians.  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  Jesus does not separate himself from his people.   Its also highlighted in Matthew 25:40 with ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Jesus connects himself with all of us, and as a result, we are all connected to Jesus.  Its more than a club, it’s a living organism that continues to grow and evolve.  This is the body of Christ.  Is giving up on the Body of Christ really showing commitment to Jesus? 

In the name of God, many people have committed many harmful actions, or made harmful statements.  But God became flesh and lived with similar people who continue to cause us frustration.  Each of us, in our imperfection, contributes something to the Body of Christ and through each other Jesus reveals a little more of his own perfection. 

I will be praying that Anne Rice, and other people who feel the same, find the healing they need and can be welcomed back home to Christ

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Faith, Scripture, Spirituality | , , | 2 Comments

Official Song of Mary MacKillop’s Canonisation

Gary Pinto has written the official song for Mary MacKillop’s Canonisation.  Gary Pinto also co-wrote Receive the Power with Guy Sebastian for World Youth Day in Sydney 2008.  You can check out the song and its film clip here. 

My favourite Gary Pinto song was the one he wrote for World Youth Day in Cologne, that we sang for Australian gathering. I wish i could find that to share with you all.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Spirituality | , , , , | 1 Comment

Never see a need without doing something about it

After learning the story of Mary MacKillop, a friend commented to me that they don’t make Christians like that anymore.  I think that these stories of amazing people only come to the attention of the general public, long after they are gone.  There could be someone somewhere, truly living the life that God has called them to in a way that changes the lives of people around them for the better.  I wonder in a hundred years, what people from this era will be used as an example. 

For those outside Australia, the story of Mary MacKillop might not be as common. 

Mary was the daughter of Alexander and Flora MacKillop, both originally from Scotland, and the eldest of their eight children.  It seems the children had a rather unsettled childhood, due to the many failed business dealings of Alexander.  As the eldest, Mary had a responsibility to help provide for the family, and started working at 14. 

At 18, Mary moved to Penola, South Australia, as a governess to her younger cousins.  It was here that she discovered a desire to educate others, especially those living in poverty, and it wasn’t long until she was inviting other children to attend the classes she was giving.  This work eventually led her to the local parish priest, Fr Julian Woods. 

Fr Julian and Mary both shared a desire to help the poor, especially their educational and spiritual needs.  The colony of Australia was expanding, and more children were growing up in rural areas.  Together, with the help of some of Mary’s siblings, they opened a Catholic school by transforming an old stable in a class room.  With her brother John now able to provide for her family, Mary felt for the first time that she was able to give her life to God in the way she truly desired.

My parents took my sister and I to Penola in South Australia, when we were children, and we were able to see the buildings where all this started. 

Mary, and her sister Lexie, eventually discarded their secular clothes and started dressing as religious postulants.  Fr Julian achieved his dream of starting a religious order of nuns for Australia, and with the approval of Bishop Sheil, Mary became the first sister and Mother Superior of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.  By the end of the year, another 10 women had joined the order. 

The school they ran was revolutionary at the time, as it accepted and educated all, without distinction.  Both those who were able to  pay and those who could not.  She taught her students important life skills, such as writing a letter, or adding up a grocery bill, as well as religion, in the hope that they would be able to use this education to improve their lives. 

Soon, the Bishop of Queensland, James Quinn, invited the Sisters of St Joseph, to set up in Brisbane.  By 1871, 128 women had taken vows, averaging 23 years of age, living and working in remote parts of the country.  Mary knew each sister by name and wrote to them all regularly, to empathise with the challenges they faced. 

After a while, Fr Julian was on the brink of breakdown, and was no longer capable of leading the sisters as their founder and mentor.  Mary had to deal with this and the other displeased priests, and unhappy Bishop Sheil who ordered a commission to examine the lives of the sisters. One of the recommendations from that commission was that each convent be placed under the authority of the local priest.  This went against everything that Mary and the other sisters had worked so hard to establish, and Mary took a courageous stand and shared her concerns with the Bishop.  This resulted in her being excommunicated.  Five months later, Bishop Sheil lifted this as he approached his death.  Still facing opposition from other bishop’s who wanted to change the order to a Diocesan one, Mary traveled alone to Rome, to seek formal approval for the Order.  She returned to Australia with 15 new Irish postulants, and a letter from Rome approving the Central government style of the order.  This brought with it a series of trials that would continue for the years to come.

In 1901, Mary MacKillop suffered a stroke, after deteriorating health for some time. While recuperating, she kept in touch with the sisters through letters and sometimes visited the children in the schools and orphanages.  She entered her eternal reward on 8th August, 1909

Cardinal Moran remarked on his last visit to her before she died, “Today, I Believe that I have assisted at the death of a saint”.  At the time of her death, 750 women had taken vows, 117 schools had been opened which taught to 12 409 students.  Those seeds first sowed in Penola had changed the nation. 

I attended Mary MacKillop’s Beatification in Sydney in 1995.  This October, Mary’s Canonisation will take place in Rome. 

The Church does not make a saint – it recognises a saint. Canonisation is the act by which the Holy Father declares in a definitive and solemn way that a Catholic Christian is actually in the glory of heaven, intercedes for us before the Lord and is to be publicly venerated by the whole Church.

Canonisation is a double statement – about the life of the person and also about the faith of the people who are alive at this moment. They are as much a part of the canonisation as the person who is being recognised.

A lot of the information in this post is from http://www.marymackillop.org.au/. Please check it out for further information. 

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Faith, Spirituality | , , , , , | 5 Comments