Minute Meditations

Pursuing God's Plan Despite Roadblocks

“Whatever troubles may be before you, accept them cheerfully, remembering whom you are trying to follow. Do not be afraid.” —St. Mary MacKillop

She was excommunicated for insubordination, and later she was told to move her congregation out of a diocese. Through it all, she showed a radical trust in God and the Church, even when some of its leaders were less than Christlike. Faith and trust in God were about the only things that ever seemed to come easily to this daughter of Scots immigrants to Australia, who would be known as Mary of the Cross in religious life. During Mary’s travels, she became aware that some community members had told Fr. Woods that they were hearing allegations of sexual abuse by a priest. After an investigation, the accused priest was ordered to leave Australia. Another priest then promised revenge. His complaints about the sisters and his view that they needed to be under diocesan control found their way to Bishop Sheil. Back in Adelaide, on September 22, 1871, after receiving a letter from Mary stating her desire to continue to operate the community according to that rule, Bishop Sheil excommunicated her and evicted the sisters from their residence. On his deathbed the following March, the bishop ordered her excommunication rescinded. Intent on moving the community beyond diocesan politics, Mary left Adelaide in March 1873 and did not return until January 1875.

— from Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century, by Melanie Rigney

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