Nation needs its own saint

BALLINA nun Sister Kathryn Sweeney hopes Pope Benedict XVI will make Blessed Mary MacKillop Australia's first saint before he leaves Australia.

Sr Kathryn spent yesterday cruising around Sydney Harbour on the same boat as the Pope, where she passed on a plea for him to promote Mary MacKillop to full sainthood.

'I wanted to whisper in his ear "please, please, please fast-track Mary MacKillop",' Sr Kathryn said.

'But I was about a foot away from him, so I passed the message on through Cardinal Schoenborn, who is the Pope's best friend.'

Sr Kathryn is one of four Northern Rivers nuns from the order founded by Mary MacKillop, the Sisters of St Joseph.

She said members of her congregation would be ecstatic if Mary MacKillop was made a saint.

'We've been waiting for it for so long,' Sr Kathryn said.

'She has done so much for Australia, for education and faith.

'We need a saint to pray to. Other countries have one, but we don't have one in Australia and we need it.'

Mary MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II in January, 1995, but remains one documented miracle away from becoming Australia's first saint.

Pope Benedict yesterday visited the tomb of Mary MacKillop in Sydney.

He received a bronze bust of Mary MacKillop from Sr Anne Derwin, the leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, after greeting more than a dozen nuns of the order as he entered the chapel.

Sr Anne said the Pope told her Mary MacKillop would be canonised as a saint if the Vatican confirmed the second miracle.

'He said "one day she will be canonised, depending on that miracle",' Sr Anne said.


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