Two Year 10 students, Kiandra Sarpi and I (Cameron Terrill) were selected through an application process to participate in the Association of Josephite Affiliated Secondary Schools (AJASS) student pilgrimage to Adelaide, which was held last week from Wednesday 2nd May through to Saturday 5th May. The pilgrimage began in Melbourne and on our journey to Adelaide we visited some of the places where St Mary of The Cross MacKillop lived, taught and carried out her life. Other secondary schools from Regional Victoria and Melbourne, Hobart and Christchurch were involved in the pilgrimage.
Mary MacKillop’s Birth Site – In a small cottage located on 9 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Mary MacKillop was born on 15th January 1842. This visit was very special to us as we were able to ‘feel’ the presence of such an extraordinary woman.
St Francis Church, Melbourne– This church was very spiritual to the MacKillop family as Flora and Alexandra MacKillop (Mary’s parents) were married in this church. Mary MacKillop was also baptized and received her first communion in this church.
Schoolhouse and St. Joseph’s Church – Located in town of Penola is the first original schoolhouse that was set up by Father Julian Tension Woods and Mary. It was here that Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph conducted educational classes and supported those in need.
Excommunication Chapel – We were very fortunate to visit the chapel where Mary MacKillop was excommunicated and we were able to read a significant letter that Mary MacKillop wrote to the Bishop, showing that she held no animosity about what had happended to her, instead she showed great love. Located high in the celling of the chapel was the original wooden window in which Mary MacKillop wrote her letters and is said to have spent many hours in prayer, as her bedroom window looked onto the sanctuary of the Chapel.
Students – Throughout this amazing pilgrimage, I was able to meet and develop strong relationships with the students from other AJASS Catholic Secondary Colleges. These relationships were developed around our common interests, the Josephite charism of our schools, Religious Education and our willingness to actively participate in the pilgrimage.
While on this pilgrimage, I was able to learn a significant amount about St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her extraordinary life. Whilst communicating with the Sisters of St Joseph and those students who possessed outstanding knowledge of the life and times of Mary MacKillop, I was also able to develop a strong understanding of Mary MacKillop’s extraordinary compassion and willingness to help those less fortunate.
“Find happiness in making others happy”
Mary MacKillop 21.11.1899
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