Balclutha's Catholic parishioners are gearing up to
celebrate the legacy of soon-to-be-saint Mary MacKillop, helper
of disadvantaged families in rural communities more than 100
Mother Mary, who will be known as St Mary of The Cross,
founded the Order of Josephite Sisters in Australia to help
provide education of children in remote areas and offer
support to their mothers.
She travelled to New Zealand several times to set up schools
and further the work of her order, and Father Michael Hishon
of Balclutha's Blessed Mary MacKillop church said it was
thought Sister Mary had passed through the South Otago area
three or four times.
Events including a combined school Mass, a variety concert
and an unveiling led by former Dunedin bishop Len Boyle have
been organised in conjunction with her October 17
canonisation in Rome.
The festivities start on October 14 when primary school
pupils from Sisters of St Joseph's-founded schools in
Balclutha and Port Chalmers meet in Port Chalmers for
activities and a shared Mass.
On the following evening, a variety concert will be held in
the Blessed Mary MacKillop church, featuring
instrumentalists, dance items and local singing groups, such
as The Phoenix Singers.
The next day, an expo exploring the legacy of Mary Mackillop
and the continuation of her work by groups such as the nuns
of the school and Saint Joseph's Young Vinnies will be held
at the church from 10am to 3pm.
Concepts for a competition to design a commissioned artwork
in celebration of her sainthood will also be on display in
the church, along with floral artworks.
The expo will be followed by a session of reflective prayer
from 7pm that evening.
Father Hishon said the Blessed Mary MacKillop church is one
of only two by the same name in Australasia, and will change
its name to St Mary Mackillop.
The new signage will be unveiled on the day of the
canonisation, at a 10.30am Sunday Mass led by the former
Arrowtown will also be celebrating her sainthood from
November 6 with a historical walk, a 1890s school session at
the museum, and a pipe-band preceded Mass conducted by
Dunedin Bishop Colin Campbell.
Mother Mary worked in Arrowtown from 1897, and lived in a
miner's cottage converted to a convent, before she took the
sisterhood to Port Chalmers.