Conversation With Mary – May 2024

Letters RE: Excommunication

If you have ever been accused of some serious wrong, you will be able to identify with how Mary felt over the five months of excommunication. Fortunately Mary had been advised by her Jesuit friends, that it was canonically illegal and continued to shelter her and give her the Sacraments. Mary went “underground” continuing to visit her Sisters, but staying with those who would not suffer the same fate. Many other Sisters were also ousted from their convents and were given accommodation by a kind Jewish friend, Emmanuel Solomon, supporting themselves with sewing.

To her mother she wrote...

“I tell you these things dear Mamma, not that they may go further or that by mentioning them to other priests we may give the cause to think ill of some here, but simply to ease your mind as my own loved mother. It is in the sacred cause of duty that I am now suffering, and as I certainly have done nothing to deserve to be so favoured, I must at least try not to abuse God’s love by speaking ill of or making known the faults of his servants. Remember that even good and holy servants of God have been used by the same good God as instruments in proving and trying the strength and fidelity of many workers in his Church. We look upon our Bishop and a few of the priests as merely such instruments, and I am sure that some at least of them must feel great pain at what they are doing. It is far harder to have to think ill of others that to be the one thought ill of.”


“My movements are well watched, but as I have frequently to change my style of dress, the most absurd stories as to where I am living have gone about. Indeed the Sisters were on one occasion told by several that Sister Mary was dead and actually buried the previous Sunday. If it were known that I went near the convent, the Bishop would be terribly incensed and very likely order the Sacraments to be refused to all within it… I am quite certain that he will yet find that some things have been misrepresented to him.”

- 22 November 1871

Imagine a conversation between Mary and her Mother if they had met.

PSALM 138 Psalms Now -

I am exceedingly grateful O Lord,
for you have heard my cries and complaints,
And you responded with mercy and strength.
Now my life is overflowing with thanksgiving,
and my mouth is filled with your praises…
You have not shielded me from the pains of trouble
or the ravages of conflict,
But you have kept me even amid sorrow and suffering.
You take my side against the enemies of my soul,
And you will not allow them to destroy me.
This I know that you will fulfill your purpose for my life.
Your love and mercy are everlasting;
You will never let me go.

L Brandt Used with permission Aust Lutheran Church
Traralgon Uniting Church Used with permission

Jesus, you carried your cross to Calvary,
you accepted help from Simeon,
help me to take up my cross day by day,
to be willing to accept help from others,
and willing to give help to others.
Like Mary MacKillop may I learn to lean on you
and to learn from you.

May I not give in to self pity or self doubt.
May I trust in your presence,
as Mary trusted you were with her in those dreadful moments,
and be strengthened by the peace and calm you can bring to me in these situations.
May we remember your Resurrection and keep our vision focussed on being with you,
when we shall reach our home in that Paradise you promised the thief beside you.


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Reflections: Conversations with Mary