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 CNS Story:

POPE-MACKILLOP Jul-18-2008 (250 words) With photos posted July 17. xxxi

Pope says Blessed Mary MacKillop is source of inspiration for all

By Anthony Barich
Catholic News Service

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Blessed Mary MacKillop as one of the most outstanding figures in Australia's history.

Her "perseverance in the face of adversity, her plea for justice on behalf of those unfairly treated and her practical example of holiness have become a source of inspiration for all Australians," he said July 17, just before he prayed at the Australian nun's shrine in Sydney.

"Generations have reason to be grateful to her and to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and other religious congregations for the network of schools that they established here and for the witness of their consecrated life," he said.

Pope Benedict prayed at the shrine just hours before being officially welcomed by more than 150,000 young people already in Sydney for World Youth Day. His visit underlined the universal devotion to Blessed MacKillop, a prerequisite to canonization.

Blessed MacKillop, born in Victoria in 1842, founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The order established schools and charitable organizations across Australia and was devoted to the care of orphans, neglected children, the homeless, sick and aged.

The Sisters of St Joseph spokeswoman, Sister Monica Cavanagh, said the pope's visit was significant in following Pope John Paul II's recognition of the role of Blessed MacKillop today and always. Pope John Paul beatified Blessed MacKillop in 1995.


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