Psalms & Saints

Saint Mary of the Cross (religious)


8 AUGUST feast

Mary MacKillop was born in Melbourne (Australia) in 1842 and died in Sydney on 8 August 1909. She took the religious name Mary of the Cross. Responding to the isolation of colonial families, she pioneered a new form of religious life to provide education for their children. She and her sisters shared the life of the poor and the itinerant, offering special care to destitute women and children. She is remembered for her eagerness to discover God's will in all things, for her charity in the face of calumny, and for her abiding trust in God's providence.


Come, you whom my Father has blessed, says the Lord: I was ill and you comforted me.
I tell you, anything you did for one of my brothers or sisters, you did for me.


Holy God, source of all goodness,
you show us in Mary MacKillop
a woman of faith
who lived by the power of the cross.
Teach us to embrace what she pioneered:
new ways of living the gospel
that respect and defend
the human dignity of all in our land.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


A reading from the book of Judith - 8:11-17, 28-31

You have spoken out of a true heart.
Hearing how the water shortage had demoralised the people, Judith summoned the elders of the town and said: "Listen to me, leaders of the people of Bethulia. You were wrong to speak to the people as you did today and to bind yourself by oath, in defiance of God, to surrender the town to our enemies if the Lord did not come to your help within a set number of days. Who are you, to put God to the test today, you, of all people, to set yourselves above him? You put the Lord Almighty to the test! You do not understand anything, and never will. If you cannot sound the depths of the human heart or unravel the arguments of the human mind, how can you fathom the God who made all things, or sound his mind or unravel his purposes? No, brothers, do not provoke the anger of the Lord our God. Although it may not be his will to help us within the next five days, he has the power to protect us for as many days as he pleases, just as he has the power to destroy us before our enemies. But you have no right to demand guarantees where the designs of the Lord our God are concerned. For God is not to be threatened as a human being is, nor is he, like a mere human, to be cajoled. Rather, as we wait patiently for him to save, let us plead with him to help us. He will hear our voice if such is his good pleasure".

Uzziah replied, "Everything you have just said comes from an honest heart and no one will contradict a word of it. Not that today is the first time your wisdom has been displayed, from your earliest years all the people have known how shrewd you are and of how sound a heart. But, parched with thirst, the people forced us to act as we had promised them and to bind ourselves by an inviolable oath. You are a devout woman; pray to the Lord then, to send us a downpour to fill our storage-wells, so that our faintness may pass."
This is the word of the Lord.


Response: Into your hands, O Lord, I entrust my spirit.

In you, O Lord, I take refuge.
Let me never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
hear me and speedily rescue me. (R)

Be a rock of refuge for me,
a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
For your name's sake, lead me and guide me. (R)

Release me from the snares they have hidden
for you are my refuge, Lord.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
It is you who will redeem me, Lord. (R)

O God of truth, you detest
those who worship false and empty gods.
As for me, I trust in the Lord;
let me be glad and rejoice in your love. (R)


Alleluia, alleluia!
Many women were there by the cross, watching from a distance,
the same women who had followed Jesus and looked after him.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 6:25-34

Do not worry about your life.
I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat,
nor about your body and what you are to wear.
Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing!
Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they are?
Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single cubit to your span of life?
And whyworry about clothing?
Think of the flowers growing in the fields;
they never have to work or spin: yet I assure you that
not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these.
Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field
which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow,
will he not much more look after you, you have so little faith?
So do not worry; do not say, "What are we to eat?
What are we to drink? What are we to wear?"
It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things.
Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.
Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God's saving justice,
and all these other things will be given you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.


In your loving providence, O God,
you gather us at your holy altar
on this feast of Mary MacKillop.
May the praise and thanksgiving
we offer with her and all your Church
strengthen our bonds of charity and faith.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


Preface of Holy Men and Women I or II; Preface for Australia Day


By the love you have for one another, says the Lord,
everyone will know that you are my disciples.


Bountiful God,
may the sacrifice we celebrate
on this feast of Mary MacKillop
strengthen us to walk the way of the cross
and bring us to the glory of the resurrection.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Through the example of Mary MacKillop,
may you learn to recognise God's will for you
and trust in God's providence.

May her life of service awaken in you
a deep respect for the poor
and a passion for justice.

May you share in her courage,
see with her vision,
and love with her heart.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.




Letter, Ascension 1874
Resource Book 2, pp 49-51

A reading from a letter of Mary MacKillop to Monsignor Kirby.

Oh, Father, I cannot tell you what a beautiful thing the will of God seems to me. For some years past, my Communions, my prayers, my intentions have all been for God's will to be done. I can never pray for a particular intention, a particular person, or anything particular about our own Institute, but in God's loved will, that is - whilst I desire with all my heart to pray for these, I cannot help at the same time desiring that He only use my prayers for the intention that His own will most desires at this time. Thus I feel a joy when things go well, for I see His will in this, and an equal joy when they seem to go wrong or against our natural desire, for there again I see His will, and am satisfied that He has accepted my prayers and those of many more for some other object at the time nearer to His adorable will.

To me, the will of God is a dear book which I am never tired of reading, which has always some new charm for me. Nothing is too little to be noticed there, but yet my littleness and nothingness has often dared to oppose it, and I am painfully conscious that in many ways I still in my tepidity offend against it without perceiving what I am doing. But such dear lessons as you gave me the other evening then come to my aid and encourage me, for the love of my sweet Jesus is too strong, too beautiful, and His merits too great, for me not to cling to Him.

RESPONSORY (Ps 33:2-4)

R. I will bless the Lord at all times,
God's praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.*
The humble shall hear and be glad.

V. Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise God's name.
* The humble shall hear and be glad.

Texts approved by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Confirmed by decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,
29 February 1996 (Prot. 1207/94/L).
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference