St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

St Francis’ Church has close historical associations with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop (1842-1909) who became Australia’s first canonised saint on 17 October 2010. 

Mary MacKillop was baptised at St Francis’ Church on 28 February 1842 and later made her First Holy Communion and Confirmation at St Francis’.
Her parents Alexander MacKillop (1812-1868) and Flora McDonald (c.1818-1886) were married at St Francis’ Church on 14 July 1840. Alexander MacKillop was one of the three original trustees of St Francis’ Church (the others being the pioneer priest Fr Patrick Geoghegan and Bishop Polding in Sydney).

St Peter Julian Eymard
influenced the spirituality of Fr Julian Tenison Woods (1832-1889) who co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Josephites) with Mary MacKillop in 1866-67. In earlier life, when Woods was a young teacher and seminarian in France, Eymard was his spiritual director and mentor.

St Francis’ Church is also linked to
Bishop Laurence Sheil (1815-1872), who excommunicated Mary MacKillop in September 1871 for ‘disobedience and rebellion’. Five years earlier, Sheil had been consecrated Bishop of Adelaide at a ceremony held in St Francis’ Church.

Mary MacKillop’s association with St Francis’ Church is commemorated by a statue in the eastern niche (Andrew Patience, 2001). The MacKillop Room in St Francis’ Pastoral Centre (1993) is named after her.

At the crossing on the eastern side of the nave of St Francis’ Church, the font (Randall Lindstrom and Andrew Patience, 2000) emphasizes the link between baptism and
 the eucharist, and specifically commemorates the baptism of Mary MacKillop at St Francis’ Church in 1842.




Discover the St Mary of the Cross MacKillop website here