Blessed Mary MacKillop, the Australian nun once excommunicated and now beatified, is on her way to canonization.  Is she the patron saint of troublemakers?  Excommunicated today, canonized tomorrow, says John Allen, puckishly.  For me, the best part of her story is how the church itself understands that sometimes even the holiest among us are occasionally at loggerheads with church leadership.  (Cf.  St. Mother Theodore Guerin).  And you have to admit that excommunication is a pretty fair indication of that.  On the other hand, it's not a requirement for holiness--most of the saints enjoyed warm relations with the hierarchy--and were often members of the hierarchy!  This morning the Sydney Morning Herald takes a look at her frankly incredible story.

Angelic in pose, Mary MacKillop was also a battle-hardened streetfighter of the finest political traditions, giving as good as the church hierarchy threw at her, reports Linda Morris.

The black and white portrait of Mary Mac-Killop returns the gaze of the camera, penetrating eyes framed by full nun's habit.

Encapsulated in that one frame, hung in the MacKillop chapel in North Sydney and printed on prayer cards distributed in their hundreds of thousands to her devoted public, are all the characteristics of a future saint: humbleness, patience, virtue and compassion.

Yet there is another image of Mary MacKillop emerging on the eve of the Vatican's momentous decision as early as tomorrow to decree a second miracle through her intercession. This is the last step before canonisation, which should happen next year, making MacKillop Australia's first saint.

This Mary MacKillop is the tough-minded, astute political operator, struggling against patriarchal city-based church authorities to assist the poorest of the poor in Australia's most remote corners.

She was no passive bystander in her fate. After being briefly excommunicated by her bishop, she begged passage to gain papal approval for her order above the heads of her bishops, battled a split among her own sisters, and then drove an expansion of missions across eastern Australia.

Read the rest here.

Comments

Anonymous | 12/18/2009 - 10:59am
Disgust is a feeling that you have ascribed to me. It is not a word I would use. Don't we hope to be repelled by the darkness of sin? When did the Light of Christ and adherence to the teachings of the Church become the darkness ? The beauty of Catholicism is that it is not a " world view ". It is the Universal Church that longs for all of us. And I love her and will defend her. America can tolerate a little of my loyal opposition. And I think you can too. Merry Chistmas, Steph.
S Bond | 12/18/2009 - 7:56pm
"It is the Universal Church that longs for all of us."
 
Yes.  Exactly.  One day the Bishops will figure this out, too.
S Bond | 12/18/2009 - 8:32am
Oh, my.  I thought, Maria, your next comment would be to deny that you hold homosexuals in disgust, that you "love the sinner, not the sin" etc.
All I can say is, wow.
And I'm sure you can find other publications that suit your world view better.
GERALD BRADLEY | 12/18/2009 - 8:02am
The sister was excommunicated, the African bishop removed from the clerical state, Han Kueng can't teach at...Jan Hus... There are many thins that can happen to US by any govt or even our friends if we ..... Remember Charles Peguy said some where,'if you fall out with one half you will first fall in with the second half, but if you fall out with them too..' I can't remember the rest, but I think you can still fall in with God. osb1ce
Anonymous | 12/17/2009 - 11:00pm
Unfortunately, for the reader, it is the rare article at America that does not reference homosexuality.
Anonymous | 12/17/2009 - 10:58pm
Unfortunately, it is the rare article at America that doesn't.
S Bond | 12/17/2009 - 10:48pm
Maria, I don't think I've yet seen a comment from you, no matter the topic at hand, that DOESN'T reference your disgust for homosexuals.
Anonymous | 12/17/2009 - 7:56pm
''She didn't let the persecution get her down and she always worked within the bounds of the church and its teachings.'' She wasn't lobbying for homosexualtiy, gay priests or abortion.