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Mary MacKillop
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Religious Figure
    (January 15, 1842-August 8, 1909)
    Born in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
    Roman Catholic nun
    Co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1867)
    Canonized as St. Mary of the Cross (October 17, 2010)
    Patron saint of Australia
    She was excommunicated for insubordination (1871-72).
    As a result, most of the schools run by the Josephites were closed.
    After her trip to Rome to gain Papal approval for the Josephites, the co-founder of the order, Father Julian Woods, broke with her because she allowed the order's vow of poverty to be modified (1875).
    She was temporarily exiled from the Josephites following allegations that she was an alcoholic (1882).
    At age 14, she became the family breadwinner, working as a governess and teacher after her father left for Scotland.
    She founded schools for the poor, orphanages and homes for the aged and incurably ill.
    Her motto was, 'Never see a need without doing something about it.'
    Her excommunication had less to do with her behavior than a feud between Father Woods and supporters of Father Keating, a priest who was accused of sexually abusing children.
    As a result, an American Jesuit group has proposed naming her the patron saint of abuse victims.
    The allegations of alcohol abuse were based on her doctor prescribing brandy for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).
    She learned to write left-handed after suffering a stroke that paralyzed her right side (1904).

Credit: C. Fishel


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