Thursday, July 17, 2008
The Pope, The Nun and The Peacemaker
Okay, last post on WYD although the appearance of the Pope today was tantamount to that of a Rock Star and he spoke quite well on issues that really don't have anything to do with religion. The faithful clamoured for a glimpse, he endured a boatercaid and a motorcaid, endured three indigenous (can't sing can't dance) cultural events and Kevin 07's speech at Goverment House. He even managed to stay awake for our National Anthem and gave a brief address to 145,000 pilgrims (the rest had to deal with live sites cos there wasn't enough room at the harbourside venue). The cheeky chap did however, give a hint that we might be in the running for our first Saint. I knew he was a big tease!
On a green hill, about 5 kms from my house is St Joseph's 'retreat' formerly Convent on Mary McKillop Drive which wends its way through the McMansions of Bella Vista. Today it's patronised largely by Vietnamese nuns training to take their teaching skills across the globe. But not too long ago, it was the retreat of Sister Mary McKillop. She's Australia's only potential Saint. I say potential because she's been Beatified but needs a miracle to convert her to sainthood . . . not an easy ask in today's modern world. Actually, according to the rules she needs two to prove her point. Today Il Papa told the faithful of the McKillop order in North Sydney that she would be cannonised . . "We are just waiting for the miracle". Well I have a feeling he might be waiting a while unless praying to the good Mary McKillop can win me the lottery, halt global warming, depose Robert Mugabe and put a black man in the white house by December. (Cynical? Moi? pelease!)
Now in years gone by, conducting a miracle wasn't so hard. Reanimating someone from a catatonic coma became raising the dead, turning water into wine perhaps a slight of hand, walking on water a trick of the eye. But in her entire ministry, poor Mary did not witness, cause or receive a miracle.
Mary McKillop was born in Melbourne in 1842. Her father had spent the family fortune, so the McKillops were poor. Mary left home to work when she was fourteen and gave all the money she earned to her family. In 1861 she went to work in Penola, a small town in South Australia. Here Mary met Father Julian Woods. Mary felt a religious calling, but hadn't been able to find an order that suited her. I rather like the idea of a potential novitiate going shopping for an appropriate religious order. Consequently, in 1866, she and Father Woods thought, in true Aussie style "bugga the mainstream we'll start our own" and established 'The Sisters of St. Joseph'.
Mary was a woman who stood up for what she believed which brought her into conflict with religious leaders. The tension escalated into conflict over educational matters and as a result Mary was excommunicated by Bishop Shiel for insubordination in 1871. The excommunication placed on her was lifted 6 months later.
In 1883, Mary came into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church establishment by insisting on an egalitarian rather than hierarchical organization. Bishop Reynolds told her to leave his diocese and Mary transferred the headquarters of the Josephites in Sydney and died in Sydney on 8 August, 1909.
In 1973, Mother Mary became the first Australian to be formally proposed to Rome as a candidate for canonization and she was beatified by Pope John Paul II at St Francis' Church on 27th November, 1994. Since the Canon law reform of 1983, one miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession. A difficult task these days for a feminist nun who pissed off the mainstream Church. There's no doubt this was one tough nun but without a miracle . . .she remains just one tough nun - it's enough to try the patience of a saint!
Here endeth the final lesson . . go in peace! (I'm rather getting into this theology thing . . .Bahai looks appealing!)
Oh and because I've been focussing on all things religious this week, I'm a bit short of a Friday Fuckwit . . nominations close 6.00pm my time . . .that's the day before in the morning your time or two hours ahead if you're in NZ or Antarctica.
Extra extra . . .had a meeting with the most annoying paraplanner in the world and Jaime today. Very uncomfortable but left everyone in no doubt as to where I stand in the company "I IZ DA BIG CHEEZ" . . no tears, no tantrums, constructive criticism all round and resolved conflict for now . . very productive . . I am the PEACEMAKER! Yeay me! Happy claps and back slaps please!