Sunday, 24 October 2010

Would the real Mary McKillop be allowed to stand up… please!

Mary McKillop, a genuine hero, deserves a posthumous Order of Australia at least. She was an activist and whistle blower, earning herself excommunication for a time. She was an educator and battler for indigenous rights long before it became fashionable.

To me, smothering her achievements in mythical hocus-pocus draws attention away from her real contribution. She died in 1905 but her work continues, not by magic, but through the efforts of the dedicated women of the order she created and the schools she and her supporters, not all Catholic, established. Now, St Joseph’s schools are a major contributor to Catholic Education throughout Australia. She was a real person in real time who made a real difference, despite interference from her superiors and should be honoured as such by all Australians.

To elevate her to sainthood, our Catholic brethren needed to convince the Pope she had pleaded to God (in an amateur capacity), to extend two women’s lives. Both 'miracles’ happened in the hundred and five years since her death.

But now that she has the badge, there will be no RIP for her. It will be full on listening to prayers, millions of them a day and then sifting through to find, once in fifty years or so, the one or two most worthy. I mean, we can’t be wasting His time with millions of pleas when we know He is so busy.

“All right Mary! All right already! (He is Jewish) Just leave it with me. I’ll have a look at Ethel’s cancer when I get a minute. Look! I’ve got Pat Robertson in my ear demanding I deliver on his latest disaster prediction and poor old Benedict pleading for me to stop making paedophile priests, when he knows it’s been an institution for thousands of years! Sodom wasn’t built in a day you know! “

“And I have to take care of all that while I keep up my smiting quota! It’s all right for you. All you do is listen but I have to do stuff!”

“Mary, do you realise how many saints there are? There are millions and I have to listen to them all!... Look, you can do something for me. See if you can rustle up a few more virgins. Damn suicide bombers!”

“No Mary, there are Muslim saints and Hindu saints, Buddhist saints and, and can you imagine how many saints were created since the Druids? My goodness! And you expect me to jump when you want a favour? Mary, you were a very naughty girl at times, so why should your lot get preference! Now get out of here and come back in fifty years or so.”

We’re told that McKillop’s a saint,
Who listens to every complaint.
But only a dill
Would pray when they’re ill,
And wait fifty years if she ain’t!

Picture borrowed from here was her first school, established 1867. By 1869 her order has attracted 70 new recruits and opened 20 schools. Modern Educators would need more time than that to put together a report! Take the detour and read the facts about this amazing woman.


  1. Oh you're so deliciously irreverent. I have a "religious" poem scheduled for the Poetry Bus tomorrow. I think we might lean the same way in that area, except I tend to be more traditional in spite of myself.

  2. Brilliant Stafford! She was an amazing woman - I love the way she dobbed in the paedophile priest and got ex-communicated for her trouble, but she kept on keeping on and is now a saint.

  3. Way to go Stafford. Love your ditty. Good people getting made into gods. How stupid is that. As if any of these "saints" would have wanted that. If they had, they would never be considered for this high office. Vanity surely must be a mortal sin. Much worse than simply coverting your neighbours wife!

  4. Poor God, having all those saints stacking up, showing him how it should be done.

    I will be the first one to stand and salute God the minute I stop seeing discarded canes at healing services and start seeing wooden legs and glass eyes left at the altar when the supplicants were able to walk away with new legs and new eyes.

  5. She may not qualify for sainthood for some, but for others her legacy is immortal. What foresight Mary had to stand up for the aboriginal voices.

  6. An excellent post and history lesson! I'd be a proud Aussie, too!

    Oh, I already have 2 saints. My two lads were born on St.Valentine and St. Andrew's Days! My daughter had the decency to leave it until Hogmanay!

  7. Have you seen the Mary McKillop website? I especially like the spot where you can insert your own prayer (must be 255 words or less). I would love to see one of your limericks there. Oh dear. I can hardly trust myself to comment civilly on this topic. We ex-Catholics have a hard time watching other adults put more children through the horror we knew as sinful youths, I'm afraid. And maybe it's the experience of my childhood that makes smiling faces like those of these no doubt well-intentioned bloggers quite abhorrent to me:

  8. Religion is a man made 'club' with rules and regulations created in absolute contempt for the intelligence of the Great Ape labelled Homo sapien and the rights of the female of the species. The sooner all religions and their peripherals are sent into History as curiosities the sooner human beings will be able to live in friendship and harmony with themselves, their neighbours and all the wild places and things on this still wonderful Earth!


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