Iron cross from St Mary's grave shown in public

ceremony in Penola

An iron cross believed to belong to St Mary MacKillop's original grave is being shown in public for the first time in 99 years, reports The Daily Telegraph.

About 70 people gathered at the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre in Penola, South Australia, last week to see the cross, which is thought to have stood on her headstone at Sydney's Gore Hill Cemetery, from her burial in 1909 until 1914.

The unveiling attracted descendants of Adelaide establishment family, the Barr Smiths, along with devotees of Australia's first saint. In 1914, the memorial was removed when the body of Mary MacKillop was exhumed and moved to the Sisters of Joseph's Mount Street Chapel in North Sydney.

Mary had been close to Joanna Barr Smith, Presbyterian matriarch of one of Adelaide's wealthiest families, and Joanna had provided financial assistance to Mary throughout her life, and for her burial.

After the exhumation, it is believed the memorial from the site was brought to Adelaide as a memento to the Barr Smith family. It was placed in the huge grounds of the family estate at Birksgate, originally owned by Joanna's bachelor brother Sir Thomas Elder, and inherited by Joanna's son Tom in the 1890s.

FULL STORY Iron cross from St Mary's grave shown in public

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