"Love one another and help one another"
St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop - 9th July, 1873
Context of Mary’s quote
By July 1873, Mary had travelled to Rome and was in the midst of her efforts to gain Papal approval for the Rule of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Rule is the set of guidelines that outlined the approach the Sisters were to take with respect to their ministry and living situation. The Rule guided every aspect of the life of a Sister of St. Joseph.
Mary had travelled to Rome incognito due to the ongoing danger represented by the persecution of the Church at that time. It was a courageous venture for a single young woman to travel all that way, but she knew that she had to get the approval of the Pope to be able to move forward.
Mary was blessed to have the assistance of a number of priests, Bishops and friends in Rome who supported the Sisters cause and worked to make the changes required to have the Rule approved. This did not come to fruition until mid1874.
All through her time working for the approval of the Rule Mary was supported by those around her. They expressed the true meaning of the word love – to will the good of another – through their efforts to ensure that the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph could go on. These efforts also expressed a deep love for the impoverished children, although unknown, that would benefit significantly from a Josephite education in Australia. But their love did not simply end with words of support it was their actions that spoke loudest. As a consequence Mary wrote to her Sisters in Australia imploring them to do the same in the face of uncertainty. They were to ‘love one another and help one another’ just as Mary had experienced from those who were supporting the Sister’s cause in Rome.
In 1875 Mary arrived back in Australia ready to get to work on the establishment of the Institute according to the Rule approved by Rome. However, her challenges did not stop there and as we know the hurdles continued to be placed in front of her as she and the Sisters redoubled their efforts to help those in need.
How we can live this in our community today?
This year we are challenged to always ‘will the good of another’ and to express that love through actions which help others to live justly in the world. As we hear in the Letter of James, our actions in the world are much more important than our words:
A reading from the Letter of James (James 2:14-17)
‘What good is it, my brothers and sisters,* if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.’
Today, Pope Francis also gives us the same message when he says:
This year let us refocus as a community working to treat each other with the dignity and respect that comes from being made in God’s image and actively help one another to build a solid, joyful and hopeful community.
Some suggestions you might like to try:
- Try smiling at others as you walk around the school
- Take up one of the many opportunities for ministry and service offered at Penola Catholic College
- Get actively involved in raising funds for our Year Level Charities
- Offer to help new Year 7’s and Year 9’s as they begin their year at a new campus
- Express love for others through the way you allow them to learn in class without disruption
What other suggestions do you have? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and if it is a suggestion that we take up as a community you will receive a special appreciation gift in recognition!