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Couple share a cuppa with St Mary

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Ashfield couple share their friendship with St Mary MacKillop in a new devotional book. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Sue and Leo Kane are confident that God has no favourites but loves to be included in the everyday events of the most ordinary lives.

For decades the Ashfield couple has been inspired by the example of Australia’s first official saint, St Mary MacKillop, and their first co-authored devotional books based on her writings, the Little Brown Book and Little Brown Book Too have sold 30,000 copies since 2009.

Their new daily devotional A Daily Cuppa with Mary and Julian published by St Paul’s Publications this month invites the reader to take a moment and pause throughout the day, allowing mind and soul to be refreshed amid the bustle of daily life.

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Subtitled Meditations with St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods the book contains quotes from the co-founders of the Sisters of Saint Joseph along with brief meditations by the Kanes which can be followed according to the calendar or dipped into at random.

The new book aims at bringing God into the everyday.

Each meditation draws an insight from the wisdom of St Mary and Father Julian, whose writings and teachings continue to resonate in the hearts of people today.

The St Mary’s letters reveal her awareness of the loving presence of God in everyday life, a path of holiness which the Second Vatican Council proclaimed is for all and not only professed religious, priests and bishops, the couple say.

“People believe that and want it but are not sure how to go about it a lot of the time,” said Sue. Leo is a former De La Salle Brother and Sue a former Sister of St Joseph. Both were teachers by profession and are now enjoying a busy retirement which includes writing books and helping to raise their grandchildren.

“The De La Salle spirituality and Mary Mackillop spirituality is very similar, very earthy, grounded in the every day,” said Leo.

“We want people to get from the book a sense of God’s unconditional love and that God is someone you can relax with as a companion in the everyday.

“We think that will be helpful to some people especially of our generation who grew up with an impression of a punitive God.”

Sue believes the success of the Little Brown Book, apart from its providential timing of its publication just prior to the saint’s canonisation, was due to the fact it allowed many people to connect with her as a person for the first time.
“Prior to that much that was written about her was about fights with bishops and about constitutions and things which didn’t mean anything to anybody,” she said.

“They encountered her saying things like ‘I feel like I’m a mass of weakness’, or ‘sometimes I just can’t keep going’, which don’t like sound very holy sentiments.

“But of course they are holy too, they were all part of the struggle of her life.”

A Daily Cuppa is available at the Mary MacKillop Place Café Bookshop, North Sydney, the Mustard Seed Bookshop, Sydney, and St Paul’s Publications, Strathfield, and online.

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