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Monday, 11 May 2015 11:47

iBlessing for saint's trail

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MacKillop trail app150In what is believed to be the first religious blessing of an app, a new online walking trail following the footsteps of Australia’s first saint was launched in Mary MacKillop plaza last month as part of Australian Heritage Week.

The trail has been added to the National Trust’s Adelaide City Explorer smart phone app and website (www.adelaidecityexplorer.com.au).

Hosted by media personality Peter Goers, the official launch featured Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese and Sr Sheila McCreanor rsj, who is currently working on her sixth book based on the letters of Mary MacKillop. Vicar General Fr Philip Marshall gave the “I-blessing” and Sr Patricia Keane led the inaugural walk based on the new online trail.

The development of the app marks the culmination of years of work by Sr Patricia who put together the walking trail as a booklet. Sr Patricia said she was “thrilled” when the National Trust South Australia proposed including it in the popular Adelaide City Explorer app.

The Trust’s Jill MacKenzie and Sr Patricia have put together words, images, music and video relating to the work carried out by St Mary MacKillop during the five years she lived in inner city Adelaide.

Among the 12 stops on the trail are the site of the first city school established by Mary and her Sisters adjacent to St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, the chapel where Mary was excommunicated by Bishop Sheil (in St Mary’s College, Grote St), the Supreme Court where she assisted those in need and the site of the House of Providence in West Terrace, now marked by a commemorative plaque.

A post card promoting ‘Mary MacKillop’s Adelaide’ has been produced by the Adelaide Archdiocese and will be distributed to visitors to the Cathedral, tourists, parishioners and school students.

Sr Patricia said she hoped the app would encourage more people to learn about St Mary MacKillop by visiting sites she was connected to, such as schools and churches.

“I think it’s putting Mary a little bit more out there to say look she was real, she walked our streets, and hopefully people can see that she was an ordinary woman who went around trying to do her best for people,” she said.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese said the app was a great way to teach younger people about Saint Mary MacKillop’s legacy.

“First and foremost it celebrates the life and achievements of Mary MacKillop, who was of course a former city of Adelaide resident,” Mr Haese said.

Sr Sheila referred to correspondence where Mary MacKillop was encouraging one of her sisters in 1899 to use a typewriter and said if the saint was in Adelaide now she would have had a smart phone because she was a great communicator.

She also spoke of South Australian writer Max Harris who was one of the first to write at length about the “goodness” of Mary MacKillop in the public arena. Just before his death, Harris wrote in his final column for The Australian “I believe we need a saint. We need hope. We need ideals for ourselves. Mary MacKillop is where we can look to find the best in ourselves.”

Sr Sheila said she hoped all who made use of the app would find “inspiration and the best in themselves”.

To view a video of the launch, visit www.thesoutherncross.org.au.

This story by Jenny Brinkworth was first published in the May 2015 edition of The Southern Cross, the official newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.