A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Mary Helen MacKillop (Mother Mary of the Cross RSJ) (1842-1909). Feast Day commemorating the death of the poor Australian Catholic nun whose parents were from Inverness-shire, Scotland. Mary was best known for her activities in South Australia, having been a teacher in the Catholic Denominational School and proprietress of a small boarding school for girls whilst yearning for a strictly penitential form of religious life. A parish priest, Father Julian Tenison-Woods, wished to found a religious society and he and Mary started the 1866 Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Josephites), a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand with an emphasis on education for the rural poor. With Mary as its first member and Superior, the Sisterhood spread across South Australia and increased rapidly in membership but ran into difficulties due to Tenison-Woods’ conflicts with other clergy. Mary was excommunicated in 1871 for alleged insubordination, most of the schools were closed and the Sisterhood almost disbanded but the excommunication was removed in 1872. In Rome in 1873, Mary obtained papal approval for the Sisterhood with a new Rule of Life and she travelled widely in Europe visiting schools and observing methods of teaching, returning to Adelaide in 1875. She was elected Superior-General of the Sisterhood and travelled throughout Australasia to establish schools, convents and charitable institutions. She came into conflict with those bishops who preferred diocesan control of the Sisterhood rather than central control from Adelaide and she transferred the headquarters to Sydney. In New Zealand on 11 May 1901, she suffered a stroke and, although retaining her mental faculties, she was an invalid until she died in North Sydney on 8 August 1909. Venerated in Catholic Church. Mother Mary was the first Australian Catholic saint. Major shrines Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney, New South Wales and St Margaret’s Roybridge, Inverness-shire. Patron of Australia, Archdiocese of Brisbane, Knights of the Southern Cross. Image: soul-candy.info.
Santo Domingo (St Dominic OP, Dominic of Osma, Caleruega) (1170-1221). Catholic Feast Day, Church of England Lesser Festival and Lutheran Commemoration celebrating the birth of the noble Castilian Catholic priest and founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers. At fourteen, Dominic was sent to the Premonstratensian monastery of Santa María de La Vid in Burgos and then north to Palencia. In 1191, when Spain was desolated by famine, Dominic gave away his money and sold his clothes, furniture and precious manuscripts to feed the hungry. At 24, he was ordained a priest and joined the Benedictine Canons Regular in the Cathedral of Osma, becoming subprior in 1198 and Prior of the chapter in 1201. In 1203, he was part of a diplomatic mission to Denmark that went on to Rome for the Pope to send them to southern France to preach against the heretic Cathars. In Prouilhe (Prolha), a hamlet in Languedoc, they created the cradle of the Dominicans in late 1206 by founding the first Dominican house, which was intended to be a refuge for women and became the Monastery of Notre-Dame-de-Prouille. Dominic saw the need for a new type of organisation to address the spiritual needs of the growing cities of the era, one that would combine dedication and systematic education with more organisational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy. He subjected himself and his six companions to the monastic rules of prayer and penance and they adopted an ascetic way of life, in 1215 establishing themselves in a house in Toulouse. Dominic was given authority to preach throughout the territory of Toulouse and in 1215 went to Rome to secure the approval of the Pope for a religious order but had to return to Rome a year later to be granted written authority in January 1217 for him to form the Ordo Praedicatorum (Order of Preachers, Dominican Friars). Dominic abstained from meat, observed stated fasts and periods of silence, selected the worst accommodations and the meanest clothes, never allowed himself the luxury of a bed and, when travelling, frequently barefoot, beguiled the journey with spiritual instruction and prayers. Rain and other discomforts elicited from his lips nothing but praises to God. Although he travelled extensively to maintain contact with his growing brotherhood of Friars, Dominic made his headquarters in Rome. The original foundation of the Dominican convent at Santa Sabina was transformed in the Sixteenth Century into the College of Saint Thomas (Collegium Divi Thomæ) and in the Twentieth Century into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum sited at the convent of Sts Dominic and Sixtus. Dominic died on 6 August 1221 in the convent of St Nicholas at Bologna, spending his last hours exhorting his followers to have charity, to guard their humility and to make their treasure out of poverty. His body was translated to a simple sarcophagus in 1233 and in 1267 to his shrine in San Domenico Maggiore at Bologna. Venerated in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism. In England, the Dominican Friars became known as the Black Friars, from the black cappa (cloak) they wear over their white habit, the nuns originally also wearing a black veil. The feast of Saint Dominic is celebrated with great pomp and devotion in Malta, in the old city of Birgu and the capital city Valletta. The Dominican order has very strong links with Malta and the Sixteenth-Century Pope Pius V, a Dominican Friar himself, aided the Knights of St John to build the city of Valletta. Patron of astronomers, astronomy, Archdiocese of Fuzhou, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Valletta, Birgu, Campana, Calabria, Managua. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
Bl John Felton (d1570). Feast Day commemorating the death of the wealthy Norfolk Catholic Martyr of England who promoted the papacy in London. He lived in a mansion on the site of and built from the materials of the great Cluniac Bermondsey Abbey, with his wife who had been a playmate of the Church of England Queen Elizabeth I and a maid-of-honour to her half-sister the Catholic Queen Mary. Felton was arrested for fixing by night to the gates of the Bishop of London’s palace near St Paul’s on the Feast of Corpus Christi a copy of the papal Bull Regnans in Excelsis (Reigning on High) that excommunicated Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her ministers were by no means indifferent to the potential political effects of the papal Bull, as in Sixteenth-Century Europe there were still Catholic powers that might be ready to execute the sentence of deposition that was the corollary of excommunication. Felton’s posting of the copy of the Bull was a significant act of treason as the document, which released Elizabeth’s subjects from their allegiance, needed to be promulgated in England before it could take legal effect. The publication of the Bull in England gave the impetus to a plot to kidnap or murder Queen Elizabeth and put the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. Arrested and imprisoned, Felton immediately confessed, glorifying in his deed of: “Treasonably declaring that the queen ought not to be the queen of England”, but he was still tortured as the authorities were seeking to implicate the Ambassador of Spain in the action. Felton was condemned on 4 August and executed by hanging four days later in St Paul’s Churchyard, uttering the Holy Name of Jesus twice whilst being dismembered by the hangman. The deed brought about the end of the previous policy of tolerance towards those Catholics who had been content to occasionally attend their parish church whilst keeping their true beliefs to themselves. Image: supremacyandsurvival.blogspot.com.