Loss and Finding Solace

January 2023


There where you are you will find God”

Mary MacKillop 1871



T. Quinn rsj Used with permission

During these last weeks, we have been faced with accidents that have resulted in sudden deaths, of children left orphans and injured people, of drownings. Whatever the causes, sudden deaths have left a huge gap in families, maybe more noticeable at this time. By the time Mary MacKillop was 45 she had lost both parents, three brothers and two sisters. Some of these were sudden, others the result of illness. She was well acquainted with loss and grief. Despite her grief she always knew her good God was with her.

Her mother’s sudden death grieved her deeply. Flora was travelling to Sydney to have some time with the Sisters and help with their bazaar. The ship, the Ly-ee-moon, struck a rock off the coast of Eden and sixty were drowned, including Flora. Her body was picked up by the pilot boat, unmarked by rocks or sharks, wearing only her scapular. Flora was buried with the Sisters.

Mary’s letters to Annie and Donald reveal her feelings.



To Annie

My dearest Annie, God help us all. The hand of God is heavy upon us, but His Holy Will must be done. Oh Annie, I had so yearned to see her again and all the Sisters were planning to make her visit a bright and happy one. Poor, dear, long-suffering Mama.

Mary MacKillop, An Extraor-dinary Australian—Paul Gardner sj Ps 360-362
To Donald:

My dearest brother, how can I write. You must ere this have heard from Adelaide of our sad, our terrible loss. Everything was bewildering at first, then the efforts to recover her dear remains, the funeral, and then came the reaction…I cannot now attempt to describe the dismay with which I heard the sad news. It was too terrible to be true, but its truth was too soon proved.

Mary MacKillop, An Extraor-dinary Australian—Paul Gardner sj Ps 360-362

Spend some time praying for those who are grieving and suffering the loss of a loved one, that they will turn to God, realising God did not cause this, but grieves with them.
Pray to St Mary MacKillop for those you have lost, and for those who have died in accidents, and who may have caused those accidents.


Wherever I could go, You are there.
If I travelled to the furthest galaxy I would find you there.
If I dived to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, There you are present in all its abundant life.
If I sailed to the utmost limits of the sea, Even there you are present….
From my conception in my mother’s womb
You have moulded and shaped me,
Your hand lovingly forming my being,
Knowing my thoughts my longings, my loves.
During all my days and years,
You have been there, holding me in being,
Laughing at my antics, grieving when I grieved,
Weeping when I wept, missing loved ones.
You lifted me out of sadness and anxiety
Teaching me to trust in you alone.
O Lord, my God, my beloved, how near you are.

Written by Mary Fermio rsj


Jesus, you wept when you heard that Lazarus had died.
You know the pain of loss and grief.
Strengthen us at those times in our lives, and may the emptiness
and heartache we feel turn to hope in the resurrection
and comfort us in the belief that you carry us during these times of pain.
May St Mary of the Cross pray for all those who experience loss at this time.
Through Christ our Lord.