New Zealand celebrates St Mary MacKillop

Sisters from Mary MacKillop Centre, Mission Bay, Auckland attended several School and Parish Celebrations relating to the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross over the week and weekend just past. Several of the Sisters either were past pupils or former teachers at these schools.

School liturgies were held in St Francis' Point Chevalier, St Patrick & St Joseph's Cathedral, Auckland city, St Michael's Remuera, where a special shrine with an icon of St Mary (Monsignor Brian Arahill commissioned the icon from the Studio of St John the Baptist, Artist Michael Pervan) was unveiled at the conclusion of the Mass and attended by Mr Cameron, chief of the Clan Cameron in this region, and his wife. Mary stayed at the Cameron station at Nokomai, Southland en route to Arrowtown. The Cameron family is related to the Penola family of the same name, where Mary was governess.

Also present was Beverley Angland nee Macdonald, a cousin through her grandmother who was a daughter of Flora Macdonald and with whom Annie stayed during her time in New Zealand. Sr Molly Alexis Thompson recalled how her mother, Mary Edna, as a small child attending Mt Street School, often talked about her teacher taking the junior class over to see the elderly Sister in a wheelchair who loved to see the little children and how she would chat and bless them, Mother Mary, now St Mary. NZ newspapers have covered this event.

A special liturgy was held in the Devonport Parish where the Pectoral Cross of Bishop Luck was displayed. Very significant, as this was the Cross Bishop Lenihan took to Rotorua and gave to Mother Mary after her stroke. It contains a relic of the True Cross. The Maori youth and boys from Hato Petera College performed at this liturgy.

There were also other liturgies and Masses at Good Shepherd, Balmoral, St Joseph's, Grey Lynn, St Ignatius's St Heliers Bay, the children at the latter acting out Scenes from the Gospel readings showing Jesus' love for little children just as St Mary loved them as well, and also presented their pictorial artistry of a Sister, in brown, and their idea of the Cross and the Southern Cross. Some Sisters travelled to Whangarei to attend the Mass there with the children.

Reprinted with permission from Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

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