Visitors from across Australia and indeed from overseas as well are expected to make a pilgrimage over the summer months to Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney, the spiritual home of Australia’s first canonised saint.
As co-founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, St Mary MacKillop was a remarkable pioneer in the development and expansion of Catholic education in Australia which began with providing free education to children in the small South Australian town of Penola.
Today there are over 600 Sisters living in communities in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Ireland, Peru, Timor-Leste and Brazil. Sisters are engaged in pastoral work as well as in professional roles which include teaching, administration, social services, law, psychology, nursing, aged care, community development, adult education and support for new arrivals in Australia and New Zealand. You can read more about the Sisters here: Who We Are – Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart (sosj.org.au)
Visitors to Mary MacKillop Place in Mount Street North Sydney can learn more about the saint’s remarkable life story in an interactive museum, pray and attend Mass in a chapel in which St Mary is buried and enjoy a meal in the café and gift shop on site.
The site also has accommodation and conference facilities.
The Assistant Director at Mary MacKillop Place, Sr Annie Bond RSJ said the site has special significance for local Sydneysiders and the broader Australian community as well.
“We are an oasis in the busy business district of North Sydney and it is a genuine place of quiet, peace, refuge, relaxation and hospitality. People often come here from nearby offices to enjoy the peaceful environment. They’re free to wander across the grounds or sit quietly. They might even spot our semi-resident family of kookaburras”, she laughs.
Mary MacKillop Place Chapel is open from Monday to Friday 8am-2pm and Sunday 9am-2pm. Mass is celebrated in the chapel at 8am Monday to Friday, plus 1pm on Wednesday and 10am on Sunday.
The Mary MacKillop Place museum is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10am – 2pm. but will close for a short Christmas break on 22 December and reopen on Tuesday 3 January.
More information about Mary MacKillop Place is available online: https://www.marymackillopplace.org.au/