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Mary MacKillop questions and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  01 August 2019

Read Mary MacKillop ­– A lifetime of service and take part in the following questions and activities.


  • When and where did the religious order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart begin?
  • What are the virtues that Fr Paul Gardiner says Mary MacKillop lived?
  • What do you understand charity to mean?
  • How did Mary MacKillop understand charity?
  • What do you think she meant by ‘perfect service’?


  1. In Mary MacKillop’s time, the great need was for education for young people, which was why the Josephites founded so many schools. As a class, brainstorm a list of what you think the ‘great needs’ are in Australia at this time. Then reflect as a group – what is God calling us to do? Choose one of the needs, and develop a class project that could be undertaken – either raising funds to support a group In need, or giving time to an organisation, or making a change in the way you live your own life.
  2. Do your own research into Mary MacKillop and her life. Are there the periods in her life that resonate with you? Perhaps you could organise a short pilgrimage within the school grounds, with various stopping points illustrating different aspects of her life. Finish with a paraliturgy to celebrate her Feast Day.
  3. Read a newspaper or visit a news website. Find a current debate on which there are more than one side. Write an essay exploring: a) What do we mean when we talk about ‘charity’ in the Christian context? b) What is the debate you have chosen and what are the different viewpoints involved? c) How could the virtue of charity be applied by the different viewpoints in this debate? d) How you think Mary MacKillop might have responded to this situation as someone who lived ‘charitably’ in her life?

 For younger students

Discuss with the students works of charity and how they can practise the virtue of charity.

  1. Have the children work in pairs to think of, and pantomime, an everyday activity in which they practise the virtue of charity. For example, comforting someone who is crying; assisting someone with schoolwork or sport activities; helping with household chores, etc.
  2. Once everyone has worked out their charity work, invite the children to take turns acting out their situation while the rest guess what they are doing to show charity toward another. 
  3. If the group is unable to guess, allow the children to give one verbal clue at a time until the group guesses.


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