Patron: Mary MacKillop
Mary was born in Victoria to Scottish immigrants. She was the eldest of eight children and spent her early years working to support her family. At the age of 24 she dedicated her life to God and took on the name ‘Mary of the Cross’.
Along with Fr Julian Tenison-Woods, Mary opened a school in a disused stable in Penola, South Australia. Her vision was to provide education for underprivileged children. Many other women came to join her there and Mary and Julian founded Australia’s first religious order: the Sisters of St Joseph. Mary and the Sisters were committed to serving the poor – to going to and living amongst those in need. This took Mary all over Australia to many rural areas.
Mary faced fierce opposition throughout her life, which at one point culminated in her being excommunicated. In the face of these trials, Mary was a model of forgiveness, insisting no ill be spoken of those who wronged her, while also remaining resolute in her convictions. Mary was remarkable as a strong female leader in 19th century Australia. Education in this country is what it is today thanks to her dedication and determination.
Mary was beatified in Sydney on 19 January, 1995, by Pope John Paul II. This took place in the presence of many thousands of people who had travelled from all over Australia, New Zealand and many parts of the world. Her canonisation in Rome followed 16 years later, giving Australia its first canonised Saint.
The College changed our House name from Benedict to MacKillop over 20 years ago in recognition of the life and example set by Saint Mary MacKillop.
Mary MacKillop Today (formally the MacKillop Foundation) works with the poorest groups in Australia, and internationally in Timor-Leste, Peru, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, to support and empower local communities. In the spirit of our patron, Mary MacKillop Today focuses on learning for life and enabling access to learning opportunities in the areas of education, health and financial inclusion in order to share practical life skills that enhance people’s dignity across various stages of life.
Every year through our various fund raising endeavours, MacKillop House supports this charity and funds raised are distributed to people and communities to ensure that something is done about the many needs that we see in our world.