Mackillop Should Be Saint for Abused

By Melissa Jenkins
Sydney Morning Herald
October 10, 2010

The Catholic church should endorse Mary MacKillop as the patron saint for those abused by the clergy, a victims' support group says.

Nuns from the Sisters of St Joseph will travel to Rome this week ahead of their founder's canonisation next Sunday.

A small group of demonstrators from the Broken Rites group gathered outside St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne this weekend to protest against the Catholic church's alleged cover-up of sexual abuse.

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Spokeswoman Chris MacIsaac said the church had not recognised the role MacKillop played in exposing a sexually abusive priest, Father Ambrose Patrick Keating, in 1870.

"They should be delighted that the woman that they are canonising, Australia's first saint, actually did this because this is what needs to be done," she told AAP.

"She leads by example in how we stop sex abuse in the future."

MacKillop's nuns at Kapunda, north of Adelaide, reported Father Keating's abuse while she was in Queensland.

A spokeswoman for the Sisters of St Joseph did not wish to comment, saying the focus was on MacKillop's canonisation.

Around 100 nuns from the Sisters of St Joseph will leave Australia for Rome this week, along with 40 of their sisters working in countries including Scotland, East Timor and Peru.

Many of the sisters plan to blog about their experiences in several different languages.

Thousands of Australian pilgrims are expected in Rome.

They are also expected to flock to MacKillop's tomb in North Sydney.

Others will celebrate at the Royal Exhibition Building and Gardens in Melbourne, where there will be a festival and street procession led by the Sisters of St Joseph.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will be joined by Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce and Labor senator Ursula Stephens to witness Pope Benedict XVI preside over the canonisation ceremony at St Paul's Basilica on Sunday.

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, will lead a thanksgiving mass at the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome on the Monday following MacKillop's canonisation.

MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne, on January 15, 1842.

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