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1866

  • March: Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart founded at Penola by Sister Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods; the first religious order to be established by an Australian.
  • June: Adelaide Town Hall opened.
  • Kopperamanna Mission founded at Cooper's Creek.
Mother Mary MacKillop
Title : Mother Mary MacKillop Mother Mary MacKillop
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Source : B 23825
Date of creation : ca. 1870
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 206 x 153 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Mother Mary of the Cross: founder of the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart.


In 1861 Mary MacKillop worked as a governess at Penola in the colony's South-East region, and witnessed first-hand the poverty and lack of adequate education of children in the district. With Roman Catholic priest Father Julian Tenison Woods, Mary founded 'The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart' at Penola on 19 March 1866. Members of the Josephite Order took a vow of poverty and dedicated themselves to educating poor children.

In 1867, Bishop Shiel asked Mary to start a school in Adelaide. From there, the Order's work extended to other South Australian settlements, then to a number of locations around Australia and also in New Zealand. in 1871, following disputes within the Church, Mary was excommunicated for alleged insubordination and the religious order was almost disbanded. However the excommunication was rescinded six months later and in 1873, Papal approval for the Josephite sisterhood was granted.

In addition to schools and convents, Mary opened various community care facilities including orphanages and centres for the homeless and destitute. However, opposition from bishops who wanted control of the Order from within the relevant diocese instead of central control from Adelaide caused conflict. In 1883 Mary moved the headquarters for the Order to Sydney where she died in 1909. Her beatification in 1995 was the first step towards ordination as a saint.

In October 2010 Mary MacKillop was canonised at a ceremony in Rome, thus becoming Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross.

Subjects
Related names :

MacKillop, Mary, 1842-1909

Tenison-Woods, JE (Julian Edmund), 1832-1889

Coverage year : 1870
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Penola
Region : South East
Further reading :
Dunne, Clare. Mary MacKillop: no plaster saint: a pioneering woman of our time, Crows Nest, NSW: ABC Enterprises, 1991

Foale, Marie Therese. The Josephite story: the sisters of St. Joseph: their foundation and early history 1866-1893, Sydney: St. Joseph's Generalate, 1989.

Swiggs, Theresa, Jane Kowalczuk and Mary Jacquier. Mary MacKillop: a resource book, Kent Town, S. Aust.: Sisters of St. Joseph, 1995

Internet links :

Canonisation of Mary MacKillop

Mary MacKillop Penola Centre

Mother Mary MacKillop State Library of SA Library factsheet


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