St Mary’s story ‘in the DNA’ of Penola

Some Mary MacKillop Memorial School students and teachers dressed up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of St Mary MacKillop’s canonisation  (ABC South East SA/Bec Whetham)

Students at the first school established by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Penola, South Australia, have celebrated the 10th anniversary of her canonisation. Source: ABC News.

St Mary arrived in the town in 1860. Six years later, at age 24, she started her first school. That primary school is now called the Mary MacKillop Memorial School.

Principal Nicole Coote said it was incredibly special to be part of the celebrations for the anniversary, including a dress-up day at the school.

Ms Coote said the saint’s history in Penola had set the town up as a tourist destination.

Penola parish priest Fr Michael Romeo said the community was “fiercely proud” of its history and Mary’s legacy, saying the story of the saint is in the “DNA of Penola”.

“Mary’s important contribution to Catholic education in our country — that that began here in Penola and spread from Penola throughout the whole country.”

Penola is also home to the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre, which was opened in 1998 after the Adelaide Archdiocese decided to establish an official visitor site.

Coordinator Marie Valenzuela said the centre included the original schoolhouse where Mary taught from 1866.


Penola flourishes under Mary MacKillop’s legacy, 10 years on from her canonisation at Vatican (By Grace Whiteside, ABC News


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