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Friend of 'Aussie battler' to be remembered today

Today's Feast of Blessed Mary MacKillop is an occasion to recall a life that embodied characteristics "integral to the Australian identity", including "a sense of a fair go for everyone, and her willingness to stand on the side of people often referred to as the 'Aussie Battler'".

Sr Katrina Brill RSJ, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Saint Joseph paid tribute to the order's founder in a message for her feast.

The focus of the celebrations will be at Mary MacKillop Place at Mount Street, North Sydney, where MacKillop died on 8 August 1909. There will be 20 special masses, including 8:00 am mass celebrated by Archbishop George Pell, and an evening mass in the Chapel at 7:30 pm. The MacKillop Memorial Chapel will be openn all day today to allow the public to visit Mary's tomb.

The message said the celebration of today's feast "challenges each Australian to know the God who is with us, to embrace with a compassionate heart those who travel the journey with us and to believe that each person can and does make a difference in our world."

"Mary's innate goodness and her down to earth approach to life, her ability to bring hope and purpose in the midst of suffering has given Australians a freedom to be spiritual," said Sr Brill. "Mary is not a Saint to be admired from afar. She is a person who truly understands the everyday life of people, their struggles and their joys."

Mary MacKillop Place

8 Aug 2002