Religious Education and Social Justice

Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

All saints have dedicated feast days when they are remembered with special mention and prayers. Mary MacKillop’s Feast Day is on 8th August, which is the day she died. 


Mary’s feast day is a wonderful time to reflect on the qualities and actions that set her apart, and how her legacy continues to be relevant today. 


Mary was born in Victoria to Scottish immigrants. She was the eldest of eight children and spent her early years working to support her family. At the age of 24, she dedicated her life to God and took on the name “Mary of the Cross”.


Along with Fr Julian Woods, Mary opened a school in a disused stable in Penola, South Australia. Her vision was to provide education for underprivileged children. Many other women came to join her there, and Mary and Julian founded Australia’s first religious order: the Sisters of St Joseph.


Mary and the Sisters were committed to serving the poor – to going to where the need was and living amongst those in need. This took Mary all over Australia to many rural areas.

Mary faced fierce opposition throughout her life, which at one point culminated in her being excommunicated. In the face of trial, Mary was a model of forgiveness, insisting no ill be spoken of those who wronged her, while also remaining resolute in her convictions.


Mary was remarkable as a strong female leader in 19th century Australia. Education in Australia is what it is today, thanks in large part to the dedication and determination of Mary and the Sisters of St Joseph (Josephites). Mary believed in the power of education to lift communities out of poverty, famously saying, “I’m a teacher, let’s start today!” 


As a Josephite school, Corpus Christi was led by the Sisters of St Joseph until the end of the 1999 school year. We aspire to continue to live and work by St Mary's fine example.


St Mary of the Cross Award

During our celebration of St Mary's Feast Day on Monday, we launched our new school awards.  Mary MacKillop lived her life by following the motto:

Never see a need without doing something about it.


This term our teachers will be looking for a student who truly lives out that motto in their learning community and around the school. At the end of this term, our inaugural St Mary of the Cross Community Awards will be presented to a child from each community.



"Never see a need without doing something about it"
"Never see a need without doing something about it"

Mary MacKillop Prayer 

Ever generous God, 

You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop 

To live her life faithful to the Gospel of 

Jesus Christ 

and constant in bringing hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy. 


With confidence in your generous providence and through the intercession of 

Saint Mary MacKillop 

We ask that you grant our request to protect us all during the coronavirus pandemic.


We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit so that we too, 

like Mary MacKillop, may live with 

courage, trust and openness. 

Ever generous God hear our prayer. 

We ask this through Jesus Christ. 



May God bless us and help us follow the example of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.


Jane Wilkinson

Religious Education Leader