25 Sep 2010

UPDATED Blessed Mary of the Cross MacKillop.......Patroness of Whistleblowers?

Previously we have blogged about the one of the up and coming new saints on the block, Blessed Mary MacKillop from Australia who is to be canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 17th October 2010. To celebrate the event, Sacred Space 102fm will be broadcasting an interview with Sr Margaret O'Sullivan about the life, times and tribulations of Mary MacKillop and  the ongoing work of her congregation the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and here online we will be posting various links, reflections and quotes from Australia's new saint around the time of the canonisation.

But an interesting development has been reported by the uber-blogger Rocco Palmo on his blog Whispers in the Loggia where "in the run-up to the historic day, the backdrop to one of the more intriguing angles of MacKillop's journey to sainthood has come to light with a revelation that, given the tenor of these times, is bound to make her final ascent even more high-profile than it's already been".

Five years after her establishment of the Sisters of St Joseph, alleging that the foundress had incited her community to "disobedience and defiance," Bl Mary -- then all of 29 years old -- was excommunicated by the bishop of Adelaide, who retracted the sentence five months later on his deathbed... and in a documentary slated to air on Oz's state broadcaster a week before the 17 October canonization, the context behind the move emerges.
While serving with the Sisters of St Joseph, MacKillop and her fellow nuns heard disturbing stories about a priest, Father Keating from the Kapunda parish north of Adelaide, who was allegedly abusing children.

They told their director, a priest called Father Woods, who then went to the Vicar General. The Vicar General subsequently sent Father Keating back to his home country of Ireland, where he continued to serve as a priest.

Father Paul Gardiner, who has pushed for MacKillop's canonisation for 25 years, says Father Keating's fellow Kapunda priest Father Horan swore revenge on the nun for uncovering the abuse.

For more about it, catch up with Rocco here.


We should give some coverage to the correction that needs to be made about the media story that Mary MacKillop was excommunicated because she exposed a priest who abused children, with the postulater of her cause, Fr. Paul Gardiner (the postulator is the person who has to examine in detail the lofe and writings of any prospective saint and present their case for canonisation to the church) considered the foremost authority on the history of MacKillop, said his words had been twisted to suit the "ill will" of media outlets. "There was a long chain of causation. Somehow or other, somebody typed it up as if to say I said Mary MacKillop was the one to report the sex abuse," Father Gardiner said. "I never said it - it's just false - it's the ill will of people who are anxious to see something negative about the Catholic Church. There's already enough mud to throw, though."

You can read more about it here and here.

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