MacKillop still in line for sainthood despite tougher restrictions

Mary MacKillop is still in line to become Australia's first saint despite Pope Benedict's recent changes to the canonisation process imposing stricter guidelines.

ABC news reports the tougher rules to sainthood are unlikely to make a difference to supporters of MacKillop as her case will still be considered under the old rules.

Mary MacKillop, who died in 1909, founded the Sister of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart and is the only Australian to be beatified.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph have been lobbying the Vatican for a canonisation and Sr Maria Casey says Mary MacKillop is still delivering miracles long after her death.

"In fact, I met one baby on Sunday morning, and the lady had enormous complications during her pregnancy," Sr Casey said.

"She said the doctors just said to her, 'There is no hope for this pregnancy.' But she said she prayed and prayed. Her family prayed.

"And the child came to term and is a beautiful baby. Now she has no problem saying she would attribute that to the power of prayer of Mary MacKillop," she said.

Sister Maria says she still needs one more miracle even though she has a drawer full of documents suggesting people have been inexplicably cured after praying to Mary MacKillop.

"It is still very difficult to convince the Vatican," she said.

Aquinas Academy Adult Education Centre in Sydney director Fr Michael Whelan says reforms are needed to keep pace with the increasingly diverse face of the Catholic Church.

"Different perceptions of what is good, different understandings from psychology, different knowledge from history and culture and so forth all change our ability to perceive what is good and desirable," Fr Whelan said.

"Let's not forget the major purpose of canonisation, it is to indicate the kind of heroic virtue, the kind of life that we believe that will inspire people to follow the gospel more deeply."

Sr Casey will travel to Rome in April to press her case once more.


Ranks of saints swell, but Mary MacKillop still in line (ABC 20/02/08)


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