Hopes rise for Blessed Mary's sainthood

An Australian Josephite Sister has asked Pope Benedict XVI to reconsider his previous calls for the abolition of a Vatican rule delaying Blessed Mary MacKillop's canonisation.

In Adelaide, the Southern Cross reports that Sr Maria Casey wrote to Pope Benedict 14 days ago recalling his demand to overturn the "second miracle" clause for candidates for sainthood made before his elevation to the papacy in April.

"I reminded him of the beatification of Mary MacKillop and that Australia needs a saint," said Sr Maria, vice-postulator for the canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop.

"I also reminded him that he could revisit the issue of waiving the requirement of a second miracle now that he is Pope," she told the paper.

In December last year, Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, made a formal petition to the late Pope John Paul II to investigate waiving the centuries-old miracle clause. At present, candidates must be shown to have performed at least two miracles after death by curing the terminally ill in response to prayers of intercession.

A woman cured of leukaemia is the first miracle attributed to Blessed Mary MacKillop, who died in 1909 after co-founding the Sisters of St Joseph in Penola, in South Australia's south-east. Blessed Mary MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 and is one miracle away from sainthood.

"We're optimistic,'' said Sr Maria. "I think her sainthood is a step closer given that Cardinal Ratzinger proposed these changes and now he is the Pope."

Hopes of Blessed Mary MacKillop's history-making canonisation - she would be the first Australian saint - have been lifted in Penola following the election of Pope Benedict. The town is currently preparing for the 96th anniversary in August of Blessed Mary's death.

Penola parish priest Fr Vinh Quang Tran said the parish was praying Blessed Mary's canonisation would occur soon.

"We do get some frustration because it's taking so long," he said.

An extensive list of thousands of favours involving the intercession of Mary MacKillop is kept at Mary MacKillop Place in Sydney. Ultimately however, all claims of miraculous cures are examined by five medical experts at the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. A miracle is declared once the expert panel concludes a cure was "sudden, complete and permanent" and had no scientific explanation.

Hopes rise for Aussie saint (The Southern Cross, June 2005)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Blessed Mary MacKillop

More room to reflect on Blessed Mary MacKillop (CathNews 13/1/05)
Miracle identification could mean MacKillop sainthood (CathNews 5/7/04)
MacKillop saintmaker calls doctor miracle denial "unscientific" (CathNews 27/11/03)
Miracle needed for Mary's sainthood (CathNews 18/11/03)
Teresa's in line, but Mary may need miracle (CathNews 27/10/03)
Boy's cancer cure could be MacKillop's required second miracle (CathNews 22/9/03)

32 Jun 2005