October 17th, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Nun canonized as Australia's first saint

Australia got its first Catholic saint Sunday, a feisty 19th-century nun who was briefly excommunicated when her colleagues exposed an abusive priest.

Mary MacKillop co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1867, and gained a reputation as the first Australian nun to leave the cities and minister to the rural poor.

Nuns in her order got evidence that a priest was engaged in "scandalous behavior," according to the Rev. Paul Gardiner, who has spent decades researching MacKillop's life.

The nuns reported it to the Rev. Julian Woods, MacKillop's first spiritual mentor who co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Woods in turn reported the abuse to church authorities, resulting in the Rev. Ambrose Patrick Keating being sent back to Ireland from Kapunda, Australia.

But Keating's friends "were really upset with Father Woods and thought they could best get at him by getting at Mary," said Claire Larkin, the chair of the Mary MacKillop Centre in Penola, Australia.

"They told a lot of lies to the bishop," who excommunicated MacKillop and the entire order in 1871, she said.

Bishop James Quinn revoked the excommunication five months later, on his deathbed, the order says in its biography of Mary MacKillop.

Read the complete story on CNN.com


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Filed under: Australia • Religion
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. whitekong78

    They shoot dead nuns out of cannons in Australia??? Ba doom ching

    October 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • NyteShayde

      Wow...that was almost funny. No really. I came this close |...| to actually cracking a smile. /sarcasm

      October 18, 2010 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lisababy

    That was hilariASS!

    October 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. phildo

    Ratz....I was hoping the nun that invented spermicide got sainthooded. remember? it was back in the 1500's if i recall. priests were getting the nuns pregnant, so this nun made spermicide out of crocodile dung. none of the tests on young boys worked very well though.

    October 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. okay

    @whitekong78..LMAO !

    October 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lisababy

    Hey genious cant become a saint by doing things against church docterine but keep trying you might get something right someday

    October 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    What a woman saint does. I know men saints don't do nothing. I pray once for that guy that suppose to find you a lost item, his name is saint Patrick from what I remember. I couldn't find what I lost. He was useless to me. I don't know why they make saints anyhow.

    October 18, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      That's probably because St. Anthony of Padua is the one to pray to when you are trying to find something lost. Try it next time - I've actually experienced it work many times. Although, you probably need legitimate faith for it to work.

      October 18, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. termlimits

    (.) (.)

    October 18, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |