St Mary of the Cross (Class I in Australia, August 8)



Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909), or St Mary of the Cross, was an Australian nun who founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australasia, with an emphasis on education for the rural poor.

Her Order was initially established on the feast day of the Presentation of Mary in 1866, and by 1871, 130 sisters were working in more than 40 schools and charitable institutions across South Australia and Queensland.

Her path was not easy: she encountered considerable opposition from bishops and priests, and  at one point was excommunicated unjustly.

She was canonised in 2010.

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