MacKillop Relic on Display in Rome

Don’t know what reliquary is? Well it’s something to keep a relic safe in, and this posting from CathNews tells about a very important relic in Catholic history. Mary MacKillop is going to be canonized next month, and a strand of her hair was just put on display in Italy. Eventually this reliquary will be bestowed upon Pope Benedict XVI.

“A reliquary containing a lock of Blessed Mary MacKillop’s hair has been unveiled at the the Caravita Oratory in the centre of Rome by Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer and Sister Maria Casey.

The reliquary, a receptacle for a relic, is made from a red gum fence post from the South Australian Penola property where Mary MacKillop founded the Australian Sisters of Saint Joseph with Julian Tenison Woods, said an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It has been carved into a cross with a sculpture using an antique piece of glass set into its centre containing the relic of Blessed Mary.

The reliquary will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI next month during the October 17 canonisation ceremony at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Several events are planned for the weekend of the ceremony, including a special evening opening of the Vatican Museums on Friday October 15, accompanied by a performance of indigenous dancing and didgeridoo playing, a Saturday prayer vigil and a mass to be celebrated by the head of the church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell with several other bishops and priests in Saint Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls on Monday after the canonization.

“I think believers and non-believers alike agree that Mary MacKillop was a great Australian,” Mr Fischer said.

Mr Fischer is keeping Australians attending the canonisation up to date by using social media network Twitter, ‘tweeting’ information about tickets for the ceremony and other travel advice.” – “Mary MacKillop Reliquary Cross Unveiled in Rome”, CathNews

Mary MacKillop Musical Launches in Sydney

Periodically over the course of the summer I have written about Mary MacKillop and her upcoming canonization. It just seems like Australia is getting more and more excited with every day that passes. This article talks about a new musical that is set to open about the soon to be saint’s life. It is so great to see such a strong showing of people who truly care that their country is gaining their first ever saint! Good stuff Australia, keep up the good work!

MacKillop the Musical will be launched today in Sydney, marking the 50-day countdown to the canonisation of Australia’s first saint.

The launch will feature Melbourne Soprano Joanna Cole who is playing the title role alongside Brisbane actor Donald McDonald (Mary’s father Alexander MacKillop), Adelaide baritone Eugene Raggio (the bushranger Fagan) and Sydney actors Paul McLeod (Fr Woods) and Tony Girdler (Fr Horan.), said a media release.

The casting of actors from Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne signifies the four Australian states that Mary MacKillop herself worked in.

“Travelling long distances in the course of her work was a daily reality for Mary MacKillop” said Kieran Walton, the producer of MacKillop. “So drawing actors from across the country for this historic production is very appropriate.”

As an exclusive preview to the production, Joanna will sing the main aria from the musical My

“I feel incredibly privileged to be cast as Mary MacKillop” said Joanna Cole. “Mary was a very
special woman and the chance to tell her story and bring her charisma to the stage is one I feel
very honoured to have been given.”

“The MacKillop story is about the development of a nation, its trials, hardships and
successes. Drawing actors from across Australia to tell this story personifies the national
significance of Mary’s work and her Canonisation,” said director Anthony McCarthy.

Walton is thrilled to have secured two actual priests to play roles in the show. “Why make
someone act like a priest when you can get a real one, two in fact.”

Fr. Bill Milsted will play Pope Pius IX and Fr. James McCarthy will play Bishop Shiel, the bishop who excommunicated Mary MacKillop.” – “MacKillop Musical Launch Marks 50 Days to Canonization”, CathNews

Max Millar Related to Mary MacKillop

“Baby Max Millar is a first cousin to Mary MacKillop five times removed. He is also a miracle baby who survived a critical period in the initial weeks of his life.

Delivered amost two weeks late, Max wasn’t breathing at birth and his major organs had been starved of oxygen during the birth, said a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

He was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator in an incubator. But medical staff feared that if he survived, he might have severe brain damage. Eleven days later an MRI brain scan showed there was no damage.

His grandmother, Marion Millar, said: ”I was praying, all my friends were praying, and we believe his life was saved. Max is a miracle baby.”

Max’s mother, Rachel, 37, said: ”He is certainly a very lucky baby to be alive. When we were told the brain scan was fine, we were just really surprised – we were told he could well have had a significant disability.”

Max, now 14 months old, had suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome, a leading cause of severe illness and death in newborn babies.

The relationship to Mary MacKillop was unravelled by for The Sun-Herald. A closer relative is unlikely to be found, given that Blessed Mary’s seven siblings did not have children.” – “Miracle Baby Max is Related to Mary MacKillop”, CathNews

This post from was a very interesting one for several reasons. If you remember, I wrote about Mary MacKillop recently in another post because she is having a History Channel documentary made about her life. Well Max Millar, a fourteen month old child, has been found to be distant relative of Mary’s. While this is strange enough for most, it goes further. Max had terrible complications with his birth, and nearly died. He survived though, and had no damage done to him by the struggle for his life. This is truly a wonderful story!

History Channel Documentary on Mary MacKillop to be Produced

“The History Channel has commissioned a new documentary called Blessed Mary: A Saint for All Australians to commemorate her canonization.

Hosted by Alan Jones, the hour-long special will have its world premiere on The History Channel on Sunday, October 10 at 7.30pm AEST, with an encore screening on the day of the canonization, Sunday, October 17 at 8.30pm AEST, according to a statement.

A DVD with special extras, including a full interview between Alan Jones and Cardinal Pell will be released on  October 13.

The comprehensive docu-drama will detail the incredible life of Mary MacKillop, from her humble and often troubled childhood in Melbourne, to the establishment of a school in Penola, through to her vocation as co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Featuring dramatised scenes of the pivotal moments in Mary’s life, the documentary is also supported by an enormous resource of correspondence to, from and about Mary, including thousands of letters written by Mary herself.

“Mary MacKillop lived a remarkable, inspired life and I’m delighted that The History Channel is able to honour her memory with the screening of this world premiere documentary, to coincide with her historic canonisation,” said Jim Buchan, Group Channel Manager, Factual Channels.” – “History Channel to Make New Documentary on Mary MacKillop”, CathNews

This post from CathNews was really great to read about. After writing about Mary MacKillop’s future canonization earlier this week, I felt the need to share this with everybody as well. I think it is really wonderful that the History Channel is going to be making a documentary on her life. It will surely be a documentary worth watching more than once. Mary MacKillop led a great life and it will be awesome to get to see all that she did in a documentary format. I will, without a doubt, learn a lot from it when I can view it.

Australia is Excited for MacKillop to be Canonized

“Great excitement is emanating from Australia as the date for the canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop approaches. She will be officially welcomed into the ranks of the saints by Pope Benedict XVI in a little over two months.

Bl. Mary MacKillop, the foundress of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, will become Australia’s first saint when she is canonized in Rome along with five others on Oct. 17. Included among the other five is Blessed Andre Bessette of Montreal.

The Archdiocese of Sydney has acclaimed Blessed MacKillop’s canonization as “a milestone in our nation’s history” and “an uplifting and celebratory occasion,” promoting her influence and legacy on the entire population of the island continent.

“Mary epitomizes the strength of our forebears which made Australia the nation it is today,” according to the archdiocese.

Catholics in Sydney will be celebrating a feast day Mass late in the afternoon at St. Mary’s Cathedral in the heart of the city before the canonization ceremony is televised there. In traditional Aussie fashion, a “sausage sizzle” will accompany the viewing.” – “Australia Prepares for Blessed Mary MacKillop’s Canonization in October”, Catholic News Agency

Sounds like Australia is really using Mary MacKillop’s canonization as a chance to come together as one and celebrate which is awesome! This post on Catholic News Agency was very informative of all the excitement that is gathering in Australia over this upcoming event. The “sausage sizzle” that is planned to take place sounds absolutely delicious as well. Makes me wish I lived in the Land Down Under!