Missionary Spirit in Catholic Education

“Missionary Spirit in Catholic Education – A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Victoria and South Australia”


The purpose of spiritual and religious formation for MACS principals is to develop and sustain principals in their leadership of Catholic schools. This program for MACS principal formation aims to:

  • Engage participants in the story, faith and spirituality of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop with particular focus on her model as pioneer and leader in Catholic education in Australia.
  • Provide opportunities for principals to engage in formative experiences in dialogue and encounter with the inclusive community (self, other, all creation, God).
  • Encourage an ongoing missionary transformation which comes from silence, reflection, discernment.
  • Strengthen the personal sense of Catholic identity in order to see God in the world, recognise the sacramentality of all creation and to acknowledge oneself as part of a larger narrative in Jesus’ mission.
  • Develop spiritual literacy and confidence for religious leadership of a Catholic school community.
  • Be based on contemporary formation praxis and pedagogy that is dynamic and engaging.


This program explores the story and key events in the life of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop with a special focus on her mission in Catholic education in Australia. The story of St Mary of the Cross models the deep sense of Christian calling and response, to go to the marginalised and minister through education.


By the end of the program, participants will have an enhanced understanding of:

  • The historical influences on Mary– the time and place, the social conditions, the situation of the Australian Catholic Church and controversies surrounding education in the new colonies.
  • The personal qualities and people that influenced Mary – Mary’s qualities, significant people in her life, and their contribution to her spiritual development and formation. For Mary these will be her family, predominantly her parents and her spiritual directors.
  • The principles of justice that informed Mary’s decision making – the influences that contributed to Mary in carrying out her work and the virtues displayed in imitating Christ, through obedience to God‘s will, and that of the cross and poverty. These are expressed in a devotional life centred around the images of the Eucharist, Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, and the works of piety and asceticism.
  • The missionary calling of Mary – how Mary left a legacy linked to the Catholic schools’ system, based on her vision particularly around deprived children and their parents as well as those marginalised within society.
  • The spiritual influences on Mary’s leadership formation – the importance of spiritual formation, prayer, sacramental life; modelling, leading and embedding spiritual formation in the life of the school.


This program includes pre-immersion sessions in Melbourne prior to a 5 day pilgrimage to key locations in Victoria and South Australia.


An itinerary outlining the key places of the pilgrimage visited is attached in the brochure