Brooke Olive, Mikayla Quinn and Kelsey Rechenberg at the pilgrim walk of Mary MacKillop at St Joseph’s Primary School.
Brooke Olive, Mikayla Quinn and Kelsey Rechenberg at the pilgrim walk of Mary MacKillop at St Joseph’s Primary School. Mike Knott

Students get a lesson on saint

THE woman soon to become Australia's first saint was honoured yesterday as someone with a kind heart, by the students at the Bundaberg school her order founded.

Students at St Joseph's Primary School took time out from classes to be led on a Pilgrim's Walk, featuring a timeline of Mary MacKillop's life, by the author of a book on her and her order, Sister Margaret McKenna.

Mary MacKillop co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1866, and in 1876 the Josephites were invited to open a Catholic school in Bundaberg.

Mary MacKillop visited Bundaberg several times to inspect progress at the school.

That school eventually grew to be St Joseph's Primary School.

After the Pilgrim's Walk yesterday, several students at the school spoke about what they knew of Mary MacKillop.

“I know she was kind to people and she taught children,” Nawshaba Ahmed, 8, said.

“She made the school called St Joseph's.”

Jasmine Dooley, 7, spoke of Mary MacKillop's healing.

“She made people better when they were sick,” she said.

“Here in Bundaberg she started a school for poor children.”

Brooke Olive, 11, said it was quite special that Mary MacKillop was being made a saint.

“She was a very good person who founded our school,” she said.

School principal Kaye Beston said having that real historical link to Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph had enhanced a genuine atmosphere of excitement within both the school and parish community.

Tomorrow all classes at St Patrick's Catholic School will attend a special liturgy in honour of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop on Sunday.

The students will also be presented with commemorative badges.

Mary MacKillop will be officially canonised as a saint in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, with the canonisation ceremony broadcast live from 5.30pm (AEST).



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