The Virtue of Charity – Part 1
If you were asked to explain the word CHARITY how would you answer?
One Sister described Mary MacKillop as:
Charity unbounded, unlimited, in word, thought and action was Mother Mary’s characteristic action.
St Thomas Aquinas wrote: For both faith and hope are formed by charity, and receive from charity their perfection as virtues. For thus charity is the mother and root of all the virtues…”.
Jesus gave us two Commandments: Love God and love others. But Mary MacKillop loved people as an extension of her love for God, not for what she could see, but recognising their dignity as children of God. She loved people in God, their common Father, and served God by serving them. This embraced great and small things, spiritual and temporal:
- Teaching children and adults their faith and preparing them for the Sacraments.
- Relieving the hunger through soup kitchens and even giving away her own meal.
- Obtaining for Sisters at Matata, NZ six ducks, seven fowls and wire netting to make an enclosed yard to help Sisters have enough food.
- Setting up refuges for homeless women, orphanages for children, homes for the aged and making sure the old Sisters were properly cared for.
- Familiar with household chores such as cooking, cleaning, dusting, washing.
Can you share any other examples of how Mary lived this love of God and those she served?
The most careful scrutiny of her writings and evidence of witnesses, failed to turn up a single suggestion that she harboured uncharitable feelings towards anyone who had shown themselves as her enemies and did their best to harm her.
Who were the ones you might think she would be justified in speaking against, and why?