Friday, May 08, 2009

"Sorry" to a Saint

It's been said that the saints are those who had to live with "the church"... and along those lines, the spiritual daughters of Mary MacKillop were said to be weeping as the current archbishop of Adelaide openly apologized last week for his predecessor's "wrongful" excommunication of the woman who'll likely become the first canonized Australian:
[Archbishop Philip Wilson] stressed the apology was a follow up to the regret expressed by the dying Bishop Sheil when he revoked his excommunication of Mary in 1872.

Speaking at the recent blessing and dedication of the Blessed Mary MacKillop statue and plaza in Victoria Square, Archbishop Wilson pointed out that the excommunication was, in fact, invalid and that he was “profoundly ashamed of the Bishop’s actions in driving the Sisters out onto the streets”.

“This statue will stand as a sign of our affection and as an act of reparation for what happened so long ago,” he said.

“The centenary year of Mary’s death is a time of great celebration and we want to repair any hurt we have caused in the past in the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness.”

A number of Josephite Sisters attending the ceremony wept as the Archbishop made the apology.

Sister Marion Gambin, Leader of the South Australian Province of the Sisters of St Joseph in South Australia, said it was a very moving experience.

“It was very unexpected and quite humbling,” she said.

“We are really very grateful and a lot of the Sisters have expressed their gratitude.”

She said the excommunication had caused much anxiety and many Sisters had ended up homeless.
With the centenary of the Josephite foundress' death coming in August, the Oz buzz is starting to indicate that a second miracle attributed to MacKillop's intercession is soon to receive Roman approval, possibly even within weeks. If all proceeds as expected, Bl Mary is likely to be declared a saint within 18 months.

On his visit to Sydney last year for World Youth Day, the Pope visited MacKillop's tomb, where he praised the Josephite foundress' "perseverance in the face of adversity, her plea for justice on behalf of those unfairly treated and her practical example of holiness."