Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Mary MacKillop 4

Tuesday 29th March 2022

Mass:  Al Saints Catholic Church Portland.

Portland Exploration.

Sun on the water, Portland.

In 1862, Mary, aged 20, made her way to Portland to be governess to the daughters of her aunt.  The next year, she rented Bay View House and was able to gather her scattered family and eventually establish a school there.

Bay View House, Portland.

A photograph of Bay View House (right) which has now been incorporated into Bay View College.  All Saints Catholic Church next door is still there - in fact we celebrated Mass there.  Mary used to attend that church, and was a sacristan there.

A photograph of Mary in Bay View College.

Bay View College is a non-denominational school built on the site of the house Mary rented in Portland, and incorporates part of it.  We were shown around the school and grounds by the current principal.

The Skylight.

This room and skylight is part of Mary's original house in Portland.  According to legend, Mary received her vocational call while gazing at this skylight.

Bay View Stables, Portland.

Angela walking past the stables, behind Bay View Cottage, where Mary lived while in Portland.  Fr Julian Tenison Wood used to sleep in the loft above these stables when he visited Portland.

All Saints Catholic Church, Portland.

We celebrated Mass here, the same church where Mary was a sacristan after she moved to Portland in 1862.

All Saints Catholic Church, Portland.

The stained glass window in All Saints, Portland, which celebrates where Mary established her first school in Bay View House next door.

Cape Nelson Lighthouse, which we climbed to view the sunset.

Sunset from Cape Nelson Lighthouse.

"Family life is a series of pilgrimages, both small and big......In the Holy Family, families can find strength and wisdom for the journey of every day."  (Pope Francis, 27.12.2015).

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Mary MacKillop 3

Monday 28th March 2022.

Mass:  Our Lady Star of the Sea, Apollo Bay.

                                                                  Apollo Bay to Portland.

Our day began with Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea church at Apollo Bay.

Star of the Sea window.

Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Our driver Michael took us on a detour to see the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia and considered the most significant.  For many thousands of 19th century migrants, who spent months travelling to Australia by ship, Cape Otway was their first sight of land after leaving Europe, Asia and North America.  

There were over 600 shipwrecks along this rocky coast, and hundreds of lives were lost, which led to the building of this lighthouse, known as the "Beacon of Hope".  The lighthouse operated from 1848 until 1994, when it was replaced with a solar powered beacon.

Kate enjoyed one of the famous scones at this stop. (So did we.)

The Twelve Apostles.

One of those moments.  I walked around a corner, and suddenly, there they were.

I was instantly reminded of the other two occasions in my life when I saw for the first time with my own eyes something I knew intimately from reading and seeing pictures.  The first was Buckingham Palace, and the second was the Treasury building at Petra when you turn the last corner after walking through the Siq.

Michael encouraged us to name these apostles.  Perhaps the smaller one in the front, like the profile of an Australian Aborigine, was the fisherman Peter, looking out to sea.  We were lucky to see them on such a blue-sky day.

The biggest one.

The shoreline.


We were told that the two little white dots below the pointed green vegetation on this cliff were penguins.

The Apostles and us.

Carving the shoreline.

Loch Ard Gorge precinct.

The Razorback.

The sharp edges and bumps along its back are caused by wind-blown spray, the horizontal grooves above sea level are caused by wave energy, and the vertical cracks are lines of weakness where a large chunk of rock may one day break off and crash into the sea.

Port Campbell.

We had a very late lunch in this pretty little town.

Some thoughts to ponder from Michael's Day 3 handout:

"Loke all other forms of life, our spiritual path evolves, interacting creatively with other people, our environment and historical events."  (Albert Nolan:  "Jesus Today".)

"I choose to direct my daily attentiveness toward what will give my life greater balance .....
Attune me daily to the beauty of all creation."  (From Joyce Rupp: "A New Beginning".) 

"Life itself is a pilgrimage and the human being is a 'viator', a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination."  (Pope Francis:  Misericordiae Vultus # 14.)

"All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents."  (Laudete si #14).

"Find happiness in making others happy."  (Mary MacKillop).

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Mary MacKillop 2

Sunday 27th March 2022.

Mass:  Mary MacKillop Chapel, Melbourne.

Melbourne via Lara and Lorne to Apollo Bay.

Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre. 

Today we visited the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre in East Melbourne, not far from St Patrick's Cathedral.  Mary had a home for destitute women on this site.  We were given an excellent presentation on the family life and spirituality of Mary by one of the Josephite sisters there, Sister Audrey.
Mary was the eldest of eight children to Scottish immigrants Alexander and Flora MacKillop.  Mary had a very difficult early life, as her father, although a well-educated teacher, had poor financial management skills, and lost all his money.  He left his family for long periods in search of work, usually without success, and by the age of 16, Mary had taken complete responsibility for the family.

Mary's siblings had varied lives - Maggie taught with Mary at Penola, but died of rheumatic fever at 39;  John contracted tetanus after a fall from a horse in New Zealand and died at 22;  baby Alick died at 11 months;  Annie taught with Mary at Penola, cared for Mary in New Zealand when she (Mary) had a stroke, and lived to the age of 81;  Lexie joined the Good Shepherd Order and died aged 32; Donald became a Jesuit and died at 72, and Peter died of a heart condition at the age of 20.  None of the eight MacKillop children married.  Mary died in Sydney in 1909 aged 67.

While living in Portland, Mary and Fr Julian Tenison Woods founded the Sisters of St Joseph, "women who worked in a simple ordinary way to bring to the poor the message of their human dignity and of Christ's saving love."  There will be more about Mary's life further into the pilgrimage.....

Mary's simple and profound spirituality makes her a wonderful role model for us today.  Her life was grounded on her faith, with a sense of God's abiding presence, and a commitment to discovering and carrying out God's will.  She is noted for her pithy sayings, such as "Never see a need without doing something about it."

Michael celebrated Mass in the chapel here - the first Mass which had been said here in the two years of the Covid lockdowns - what a privilege for us!

The centre then put on a fabulous morning tea for us.

Former Parade Christian Brothers' College.

A bonus for us was that Peter's former high school, Parade Christian Brothers' College (now a Catholic Theological College) was just around the corner.  These bluestone rooms were Peter's old classrooms.

Peter MacKillop's former house.

Then we had a big drive west to Mary's uncle, Peter MacKillop's former house, at a place called Duck Ponds, near the village of Lara.  Mary's mother and some of the children lived here while their father was away.  The children Maggie and Peter died here.  We then went and had sandwiches for lunch in Lara - a good day for the Lara bakery - then headed south towards the Great Ocean Road.

A fancy house at Airey's Inlet.

Memorial Arch,  Great Ocean Road, to honour Victorians who served in World War 1.

In 1917, the Great Ocean Road was begun to provide work for returned servicemen.  A total of three thousand ex-servicemen worked with pick and shovel, using the natural materials of the area.

This is the third arch built on the site.  The original was erected in 1939 and replaced in 1973 when the road was widened.  That second arch was destroyed by the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983.

              Peter on the beach at Eastern View, the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road.

Lookout on the Great Ocean Road.  

From here we twisted and turned, with a well-netted (to stop rocks falling on us) steep cliff on our right, and the beautiful blue sea on our left, all the way to Apollo Bay, where we stopped for the night.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Mary MacKillop 1

Saturday 26th March

Begin in Melbourne

Pilgrimage route.

Peter and I are embarking on a Harvest pilgrimage entitled “Footsteps of Mary MacKillop” from Melbourne to Adelaide.  Our chaplain is Fr Michael Dyer (call me Michael), who was the chaplain on the Harvest pilgrimage I did on the Camino in Spain in 2019.  There are about 27 of us in the group.

St Patrick's Cathedral from the bus window, which is why it didn't quite fit.

Michael took us to Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral, where, amongst other things, he read to us from the Archbishop's St Patrick's Day oration, which included some passages particularly relevant to pilgrims.  Michael asked members of the group to share some aspects of the cathedral which impressed them,  These included: the powerful image of the crucifix; the symbol of the pelican feeding its young with its own blood, representing Christ's sacrifice; the knowledge that the cathedral contained a sculpture of Mary MacKillop; the fact that places of worship, in all religions, inspire creativity.  One member of the group, commenting on the depiction in one of the stained glass windows of the flight to Egypt, recounted how when she was discussing this event with her nine year old grand daughter, was told by the little girl that the Holy Family did not take a flight to Egypt, but they walked. 

Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral.

Michael asked us to contemplate the wording of this Station of the Cross in terms of the women of

Nave of St Patrick's Cathedral.

This statue of St Mary MacKillop by local sculptor Louis Laumen was unveiled in St Patrick's Cathedral in 2012.  Mary was born not far from here.

St Patrick's Cathedral from the side, also from the bus window.

St Francis Church, Melbourne CBD.

After dinner, a group of us ventured out through a nightclub area of Melbourne, throbbing with young people out on the town after months of Covid lockdown, to see the church of St Francis, where Mary was baptised, and where her parents were married.  This is the oldest Catholic church in Victoria, built between 1841 and 1845.

Site of the first Christian Brothers' School in Australia.

In the grounds of St Francis' Church was this plaque commemorating the first Christian Brothers' School in Australia in 1869.  I took this rather bad photo though a fence and in the dark for my Christian Brother friends at Viridian.