Mary MacKillop — or Saint Macca to some — has finally been canonised by Pope Benedict XVI.
It took just one minute and 100 words to crown Saint Mary of the Cross, but everywhere you turn this morning the nation has gone mad with Mary MacKillop fever. Forget the Commonwealth Games, the media have found a new ‘golden girl’ to applaud.
But it’s not just the papers who have got Mary fever. Around 8000 Aussies made the pilgrimage to the Holy See and — like a crowd of Fanatics at a Lleyton Hewitt quarter final — it wasn’t long before they were demonstrating their pride with a few rounds of “Mary, Mary Mary, oi ,oi ,oi”.
But if you only follow the local media — who, like any major sporting event, seem only to focus on the Australian angle — you may not have known that there were actually six saints canonised by the Vatican yesterday.
So in case you’ve been on Mars for the last few weeks, with your fingers in your ears and your head in a Richard Dawkins book, here is the rundown of the other holy five:
Canada’s first Canadian-born male saint, Brother Andre was dubbed the ‘Miracle Man of Montreal’ for his work helping the poor and sick. According to reports, he would rub the ill with oil from a lamp in his college chapel, leading to many being cured.
By the time of his death in 1937 he was receiving 80,000 letters a year requesting help and it was said he had cured many thousands of people. Almost 1 million turned out to pay their respects at his funeral.
Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola
Illiterate in early life, Spain’s newest saint was dedicated to improving social justice and women’s rights. Together with five other women she founded the ‘Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus’ in 1871 to teach children and assist women.
The order continues to function in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. According to the Daughters of Jesus, the miracle attributed to the intercession of Candida was the cure of an Hija de Jesus, Sr. Carmen del Val Rodriguez, who had multifocal leukoencephalopathy with severe coma, in the year 2000.
Born in Caserta, Italy in 1846, Giulia was a teacher devoted to the Virgin Mary. She also taught catechism to children and young adults and founded the ‘Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart’ in 1905. Known for her holiness, ‘Donna Giulietta’ — Lady Juliet — has been the subject of a 73-year push for canonisation.
Battista Camilla da Varano
The second Italian saint to receive the big promotion this weekend, Camilla was a princess who opposed her father’s will when she turned 23 to live a religious life. An extensive writer, Camilla described her angelic experiences, which helped her understand the mysterious workings of unitive love.
After her family was killed in 1502, she was called on by the Pope to found a number of convents.
Otherwise known as Stanislas Kazimierczyk, he was a Polish preist who was educated in theology and philosophy. The King of Poland said it was his intercession that led to victory over the invading Tartars and in the first year after his death 176 blessings were ascribed to his intercession.