Religion and Life: essay on Mary Mackillop background info

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on 08/11/2018 at in  Study help

Mary Mackillop Power Point Notes:

GRACE 04/05/2018


Main Criterion:

1.     Outlines the historical context in which the person lived

2.     Outlines what occurred in the life of the person

3.     Discusses with insight the importance of a person in the history in the religion of Australia


1.     Born in Melbourne in January 1842

Women did not yet have the vote

Male-dominated society

Persecution of Catholic people

No education for the poor

Transient people during the gold rush


2.     Her father Alexander left their family as he was unemployed, and they were consistently relying upon other members of their family for support

Mary was born the eldest of 8

She gave 99%of her wages back to her mother to support herself and her younger siblings at home

She was a governess

She became a nun and taught poor catholic kids

She helped founder the Sisters of St. Joseph

Her mum drowned in a ship-wreck

She was excommunicated

It was lifted

She died in 1909 at 67

She became the 1st Australian Saint


3.     She showed what women could do

She valued education equally with faith

She favoured no person for their wealth or lack of

She was not discouraged by the aborigines

She stood up for those who couldn’t themselves (kids and her sisters)

She remained faithful to God during her excommunication and its retraction


For the majority of the time, the children were spread out between relatives houses and in the rare time of being together in the 1860’s their father’s unpredictable behavior again split them up.

At 16 she began work as a clerk for a stationery company in Melbourne and in the 2 years she worked there she had much responsibility. She and her brother John supported their mother and 5 younger siblings.

When she was 18 she moved to the small private township of Penola in SA to become a governess to her Aunt and Uncle Alexander Cameron’s children

She then had a guaranteed income which she sent to her mother who was still caring for the younger 4 siblings at home in Melbourne

She helped those in poverty

She helped the Aboriginal community and their children

The community were very hospitable and friendly to her and she made contributions there

Father woods received a letter that told him there were no government-funded Catholic Schools in South Australia

There were no teachers, a sparse population, the sisters could not come from France.

He decided he would found a religious order whose members would teach the south-east of South Australia

Mary went back to her family in Western Victoria and with his correspondence, they continued to plan for the founding of the religious order.

Two lay women managed the school but later were married

He invited Mary to come but she couldn’t, so he asked her younger sister Annie and she taught the children in the local church

He got a lease on an old stable and had their brother John Mackillop transform it into a satisfactory schoolroom

When Mary was 24 she felt free to leave her family and take charge of the school

On March 19, 1866, she appeared in a simple black dress and became the first sister of St. Joseph.

Fr Woods went to Adelaide because he was to be in charge of Catholic education in South Australia

He invited her to Adelaide to train his teachers

According to the rule of life for the Sisters of St. Joseph they must:

-       Live poorly, own nothing in their own right

-       Depend on divine providence for their subsistence

-       Go wherever they were needed

-       Do all the good they could and never see an evil without trying to remedy it


Her mum was unsure of her chosen commitment to go because it was her money that was supporting them before she left

For Mary, the responsibility to her family was still real now that her life with God had become a reality


Mary and her sisters Annie and Lexie settled in Penola and continued to run the Catholic school

The school was open to any child who wished to learn, and they accepted and educated without distinction those who could pay for their education and those who could not


They taught in the stable until the schoolhouse next to the church opened


She taught religion as well as how to read and write and do maths


She moved to Adelaide and provided the poorest with school clothes

The governor asked if his son could sit by her desk and she told him he couldn’t, and they were angry but later realised she was right to say so even though he was excluded


She made vows as Sister Mary of the Cross on 15 August 1867


By 8 December 1869, they had:

82x Sisters

23x schools

1x orphanage

1x refuge for women in need of protection

1x house of Providence for homeless and vulnerable women of all ages

(all in SA at the time)


April 1871 there were 120 sisters of St. Joseph

She was excommunicated 22 September 1871

The excommunication was lifted


She was sent from the sisterhood of SA by Bishop Reynolds


Her mum drowned in a shipwreck at age 70 1886

Fr Woods died 1889

She stayed faithful to God


She was sainted Canonised



Identify one important person event or issue in the history of a religion in Australia:

-       Mary Mackillop.


Outline the role of this person played a role in the history of a religion in Australia:

-       Catholic

-       Helped establish the first religious order in Australia

-       Became the first Australian saint


Identifies one reason why this person is considered significant for a religion in Australia:

-       Catholic

-       Helped establish the first religious order in Australia


Outlines the main features of the historical context of the person, indicating some of the main features:

-       Australian born 1842 Catholic

-       Gave all wages to family

-       Established the 1st Australian order- was mother-general of the Sisters of Saint Joseph

-       Provided an education for poor Catholic children whom could not afford it

-       Was excommunicated

-       Excommunication lifted

-       1st Australian Saint

-       Died in 1909


Explain one reason why the person is important in the history of a religion in Australia:

-       The religious order that she helped to founder gave a basic education to children from poor Catholic families and gave no exceptions to those from a wealthier background

-       The Sisters of St. Joseph did not behave in the traditional Irish Catholic way (went outdoors and went begging for food for the children, were outgoing, taught maths and literacy alongside religion, stood up for her Sisters and for what she believed)

-       They were entirely unselfish and lived as poor as the children they taught (didn’t own property and she gave her wages to her family)

-       She was the first to view a religious education as on the same level as maths and literacy

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