Tribal Tuesday: Mary Helen Mackillop the Tenacious Saint

Tribal Tuesday: Mary Helen Mackillop

By Kenneth Green


Sister Mary Helen Mackillop of the Josephites

On this edition of Tribal Tuesday, i want to talk about a distant cousin I am proud to be related to. I have always been fascinated by the Catholic Church. One of the General Authorities in my church stated that either was the real religion or catholicism. Either the gospel needed to be restored or they held the keys of the gospel from the early days of the church.

My Love of the Catholic Church.

I found this to be a very astute observation. And so I investigated the Catholic church, and I have a new found respect for them. When I was going down the list of famous relatives, i found a section that was comprised of Catholic saints and popes. I began reading about Sister MacKillop, and I learned a great deal about her.

She Only Cared About What Jesus Thought not the thoughts of people.

I respect her because she went through many disadvantages in her life. She was hated in the church because of the way she did things. Usually, Bishops appointed Superior Generals in charge of various congregations and holy orders.

Not Your Average Nun! MacKillop and her Rule of Life

She also asked her sisters to live in the community and not convent living which was also new. Pope Leo XIII gave his approval for the new order. The Sisters of Saint Joseph or the Josephites were born. They did many things for the people of Australia. I think she bucked the status quo, not letting men domineer her order, and also refusing to teach the effluent which caused many patrons of the church in Australia to scoff.

Sister Mackillop and Bucking the Status Quo

This method of doing things caused many of her male counterparts especially the bishops of Australia to in essence be on a witch hunt for her. The Archbishop at that time, His Excellency Bishop Moran removed her as Superior General replacing her with Sister Bernard Walsh. After Walsh’s death, Mackillop was returned to her status as Mother Superior.

Excommunication for Beliefs

She challenged things so much that she was even excommunicated from the church for a while. But soon she was returned to the church and at her death bed, the Archbishop of Sydney, His Eminence Cardinal Moran said he attended to a saint at her deathbed. What I love about this is that even though she had adversity, she stayed faithful to her principles and stuck to her guns.

In Conclusion

I am proud to be a distant cousin of her’s. So I could grow from the knowledge of her. I hope that I manifest some of her traits. An unwavering dedication to the sick and the afflicted. I hope when I die people say they were visited by a saint not so that I get the glory for my life. But that people recognize I am nothing without Jesus Christ. Thank you for your time!
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