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Sydney's saintly site: Mary MacKillop Place

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Religious or not, we should all be proud of Mary MacKillop. She is set to be canonised as Australia's first saint at the Vatican on October 17, 2010.

Thousands of Australians are expected to make the pilgrimage to Rome to witness Mother Mary become Saint Mary of the Cross.

Born into troubled and humble beginnings in Melbourne in 1842, Mary went on to establish a school in a stable in Penola, South Australia. Her early life showed a great desire to do God's will and help those in need.

She dedicated her life to the church, teaching and tirelessly serving the poor and was put forward as a candidate for sainthood in 1972. Thirty-eight years on, that is about to become a reality.

For those who have followed the journey to Mary's canonisation and who can't be in Rome, there will be celebrations, barbecues and many watching on screens right around the world.

In the meantime, Catriona Rowntree went to North Sydney to visit Mary's burial place and where her work is celebrated every day of the year.

In 1912, three years after her death, the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel was built. It houses her tomb and is where visitors go to pray and reflect.

As well as the church and museum, Mary MacKillop Place is home to Alma Cottage where she lived out her life. There's a lodge and fully self-contained apartments, and you don't have to be religious to stay there. The Sisters of St Joseph keep it sunning smoothly.

Catriona met Sister Monica Barlow and the staff at Mary MacKillop Place who told her they have extra masses and readings planned in the week leading up to the canonisation. They will also have a live broadcast on the big day.

It is expected that dioceses across the country will be celebrating Australia's first saint, so check with your local church and join in.

Related videos: Mary McKillop's South Australian hometown, and Sydney staycation - where to go in your home city


Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney.


The Mary MacKillop Exhibition is open every day between 10am and 4pm. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific has rooms from $239 a night.

For further information

Mary MacKillop Place
7-11 Mount Street
North Sydney 2060
Ph: (02) 8912 4800
Fax: (02) 8912 4847

Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific
55 North Steyne
Manly 2095
Ph: (02) 9977 7666

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