The relationship between St Mary MacKillop and the MSC was established many year ago. The priests from Randwick Parish in Sydney celebrated mass in her community at Mount St. North Sydney. Fr Mathew Smith MSC (born at Kensington in Adelaide) gave Mary the last rites before she died in 1909 and this established a close link between the two religious orders.
We are celebrating St Mary’s feast day over the weekend with reflections at each of the masses on the life of Mary and the influence she has made on the lives of those women who will deliver the reflections. Pope Francis reminds us that we are all called to be disciples of Jesus and each with our own gifts and talents to share with those around us. Mary MacKillop is an inspiration for us. As a young woman, she began with her work in caring for children who were among the poorest in the community, beginning a school in a shed at Penola in the South East and then was called to provide the same dedication and commitment in Adelaide’s West End of Brompton/Hindmarsh and then many other places where children and families were needy across Australia. Her life was one of extraordinary perseverance and courage: clear signs of the spirit of God touching her and giving her the strength to gather many other young women to respond to the gospel message of caring for the poor.
As we listen to the reflections offered this weekend by women from our parish, their message reveals the encounter of Mary’s life and commitment. We all have the challenge to bring God’s presence and love into our world, by reaching out to those in need. We are living through a time of great distress for the young, the vulnerable, the elderly and those who are deprived of their livelihood. We can search for ways to survive the impact of Covid19 on our lives (stocking up with provisions???), but we are called on to create opportunities for those in need. Those who are desperate and worried, are inspired by our faith in God’s love for all: we are God’s hands to reach out to others.
Next week is the feast of the Assumption, again a time to reflect on what a person inspired by God’s love can bring to us. Further reflections will be presented to us with the message of Mary the Mother of Jesus to move and encourage us to again to open ourselves to the “Heart of the Sacred”.
I thank those who have responded to the invitation to share their reflections with the parish.
Paul Cashen MSC