We have exciting news to share. Australia has another religious woman (God willing) on the path to sainthood. Fr Frank has handed out holy cards of Eileen O’Connor, so our parish in a small way has helped promote her cause! Thanks be to God.
Below is a copy of a news release from the Archdiocese of Sydney (edited for length): Australia is one step closer to getting its next saint with the Vatican advancing the cause for the beatification of Sydney woman Eileen O'Connor by awarding her the title Servant of God.
"Eileen's was a life of immense suffering and judged by today's standards many would have viewed it as lacking in dignity, value or hope," said Archbishop Fisher. "That she is on her way to possibly being our next saint shows even a short life, marked by incredible suffering, can be an inspiration to all and reminds us of the dignity of every human life."
Former congregational leader and Eileen O'Connor Project Leader, Sr Margaret Mary Birgan oln, described the news as "simply wonderful" and the new Servant of God as a "very human, beautiful soul".
Fr Robbie (the postulator for her cause in Rome) said the Vatican green light means the task of formally presenting the co-founder of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor to the world as an outstanding Australian example of holiness and charity can now begin. "With every passing year since her death a century ago, Eileen O'Connor has grown in the love and devotion of the people of Sydney and of all Australia," the youth and for the lay apostolate in particular. "May she inspire many others to devote themselves to the needs of the outcast and forgotten as her own life becomes better known."
Sr Margaret Mary said that Eileen's is "a story waiting to be told and now we have the opportunity to tell it".
"Eileen has always belonged to the people of God, not us, and we pray that she becomes a ray of sunshine to the faithful today as she was in her short life.
"We are extremely grateful to Archbishop Fisher and Bishop Randazzo. "The journey has finally begun!" For Eileen to be beatified, a miracle would have to be rigorously investigated and scientifically approved by Vatican experts. Such miracles are usually medical cures of terminal illnesses which are scientifically inexplicable in the eyes of experts.
Next week is we will celebrate the sacrament of confirmation in our Parish. This is a momentous occasion for the life of those to be Confirmed and also for their sponsors, family, friends and the life of the Church.
The sacraments of baptism, confirmation & holy orders are all sacraments that cannot be repeated. These sacraments change our very being and therefore our relationship to God and the world. Perhaps, baptism is the most dynamic change that we ever experience. In baptism we are born into eternity, we are refreshed and washed in the life-giving waters of the Trinity, we become the Church; the mystical Body of Christ.
In the sacrament of Confirmation our candidates will receive a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The sacrament “does” what it says, it confirms the candidates’ baptism. That is why the renewal of the candidates’ baptismal promises is so important. The renewal of baptismal promises is a significant event in the life of the Church and the candidates are further initiated into the Church as they speak for themselves. These promises made in a public forum in front of a bishop is a moment of great joy.
The candidates will receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and like the Pentecost event will be commissioned to go and, “spread the Good News to all nations”. Let us pray this week for all our candidates, their sponsors and their families.
This week (Wednesday 8 August) we celebrated the Solemnity of St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop. St. Mary of the Cross is the patron saint of Australia, the Archdiocese of Brisbane and this Parish. In other words, St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop is a big deal!
Below is a copy of a letter Mary penned to Monsignor Kirby. This letter gives a beautiful insight into her spirituality and it also provides us a rare opportunity to hear her own voice. Monsignor Kirby was a priest in Rome who helped her navigate the Vatican bureaucracy and gain recognition for her Sisters.
A reading from a letter of Mary MacKillop to Monsignor Kirby.
Oh, Father, I cannot tell you what a beautiful thing the will of God seems to me. For some years past, my Communions, my prayers, my intentions have all been for God's will to be done. I can never pray for a particular intention, a particular person, or anything particular about our own Institute, but in God's loved will, that is - whilst I desire with all my heart to pray for these, I cannot help at the same time desiring that He only use my prayers for the intention that His own will most desires at this time. Thus, I feel a joy when things go well, for I see His will in this, and an equal joy when they seem to go wrong or against our natural desire, for there again I see His will, and am satisfied that He has accepted my prayers and those of many more for some other object at the time nearer to His adorable will.
To me, the will of God is a dear book which I am never tired of reading, which has always some new charm for me. Nothing is too little to be noticed there, but yet my littleness and nothingness has often dared to oppose it, and I am painfully conscious that in many ways I still in my tepidity offend against it without perceiving what I am doing. But such dear lessons as you gave me the other evening then come to my aid and encourage me, for the love of my sweet Jesus is too strong, too beautiful, and His merits too great, for me not to cling to Him.
(Letter, Ascension 1874 Resource Book 2, pp 49-51)
During the course of the week the Church celebrated the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (31 July). Saint Ignatius is perhaps best known for two reasons. Firstly, he is known as the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits, of which Pope Francis is a member) and secondly, he is the author of the Spiritual Exercises. The Spiritual Exercises are a series of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices to aid the reader in deepening their relationship with God.
One part of Ignatius’ life that I would like to share is his recovery from a broken leg. Ignatius was a soldier and during the course of battle he was struck by a cannonball which broke his right leg. This meant that Ignatius had to return from the battlefield for a long period of rehabilitation. This rehabilitation involved breaking his leg again in order to straighten it out. Can you imagine the pain he endured given this occurred in the early 1500’s. Ignatius read extensively to take his mind of the pain and the long periods of bed rest. Ignatius read two types of books. Firstly, he read the chivalrous ‘rags’ of the day. These works were all about knights on daring adventures and about chasing fair ladies. This brought him momentary comfort, but Ignatius felt hollow, empty and unfulfilled shortly after reading them. The other reading Ignatius did was on the life of Christ and of the saints. Ignatius relished these books and they brought him deep comfort and joy. This led him to devise what is a famous Ignatian concept, thediscernment of spirits. In essence, this concept articulates that thoughts which are from God fill the soul with consolation, peace and tranquillity. Whereas, thoughts that aren’t from God, might bring momentary delight but quickly leave one resentful, empty and with heaviness of heart.
This practice of discernment is a technique all of us can find fruitful in the myriad choices we make every day. For example, will this or that (choice) be for the greater glory of God? Will this big decision in my life bring fleeting satisfaction or deep joy?