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Australia's First Official Saint?

   We have  just  seen a  significant  spiritual event  in Australia.
   Earlier this year the Catholic church proclaimed Australia's first
   official saint, Mother  Mary McKillop.  She was  the co-founder of
   the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Australia. Actually I think they're
   waiting for another miracle to make absolutely certain...
   I have a  connection with  the Catholic  church as  my parents are
   Catholics. My mother strengthened  my faith in  God because of her
   faith in  Mary. She  told me  about  times in  her life  where she
   turned to Mary and Mary looked  after her. This left an impression
   in my  mind. She  also told  me something  which became  a turning
   point in  my  life.  I  was  distressed  about  some insignificant
   childish  thing,  I  can't  remember  what  it  was  but I  wanted
   something and I  couldn't get  it. My mother  said, "You shouldn't
   cry about this  because God  has a plan  and this  is according to
   God's plan, He  doesn't want you  to have this at  the moment, His
   plan is there so in the future something better will happen." So I
   accepted this. Sure  enough later on  I could see  that whatever I
   was distressed about was insignificant and God did arrange to have
   something better  for  me. From  that  day  on I  became  a little
   detached from my desires in  the material world, I always accepted
   God was there and  He had some plan.  When something went wrong in
   my life I accepted it as part of God's plan and knew He would have
   something better in store for me in the future.
   I was interested in finding out something about Mary McKillop so I
   went to the convent in North Sydney, which is the "Head Office" of
   the institution  she  established.  They  have  converted  the old
   convent into a Mary McKillop museum. It's a completely wonderfully
   designed project and the  technology is very  good. So many colour
   television monitors  and  buttons, you  go  through and  press the
   buttons. They must  have many perhaps  videodisc players providing
   all the different video  clips, it's very  hi-tech. The exhibit is
   based mainly on  video clips  which are  performed by professional
   actors. I went through  and pushed the  buttons. The exhibition is
   well done and it did touch my heart.
   Mary was an Australian girl who  met the co-founder of the Sisters
   of Saint Joseph  in outback Australia.  She had a  desire to teach
   the children  about God  so they  started an  outback school  in a
   cowshed. Mary said a cowshed was  good enough for her Lord so they
   could start the school  there. She had  intense energy and intense
   enthusiasm, she had faith that  God would provide. She started the
   school, I don't  know the details,  I only saw very  quickly for a
   few minutes, so many other people are more expert on this than me,
   but I  could  see  her  school was  successful  and  she obviously
   attracted many  followers.  She was  teaching  and there  was some
   challenge from the  church authorities but  she didn't taking them
   so seriously. As a result she was excommunicated from the Catholic
   church by the  local bishop  but she still  had faith  in God. She
   went on and went to Rome and  saw the Pope and was absolved of her
   All these things are somewhat mundane in that teaching children in
   the outback is not such a  great spiritual endeavour. We can teach
   them how to read and write, we  can teach them so many things, but
   that wasn't actually Mary's  contribution. Mary's contribution was
   she wanted to  teach them  about God. It  wasn't so  much that she
   wanted to establish schools in the outback, establish hospitals or
   do charitable work. She wanted to give others the love for God she
   felt in her heart.  She wanted to make  them God conscious. In the
   exhibition  the  emphasis  was  on  her  excommunication  from the
   church, the inquisition and the politics. But actually Mary wasn't
   interested in politics, she was there and she had to go through it
   because it  was  part of  her  life, the  plan of  God,  which was
   ultimately meant for glorifying Mary. But Mary's life is not about
   the inquisition,  Mary's life  is not  about the  politics, Mary's
   life is not even about  opening outback schools or establishing an
   order of sisters. Mary's  life is about  telling people about God,
   teaching people  about  God  and establishing  a  structure within
   which she could train other sisters who could in turn teach people
   about God. This is the idea, this is Mary's life.
   The greatest impact  on me  was when  I saw  Mary McKillop's tomb.
   There is a wonderful inscription on the side of her tomb, it says,
   "Just remember  we are  all  travellers here."  This struck  me as
   being amazing  because  it  is  evidence  of  her  great spiritual
   realisation. She must  have understood this  material world is not
   so important. We  are travellers  here, we  are not  meant to work
   here simply for mundane philanthropic activities to help the body,
   we're travellers  here.  A  traveller  comes and  he  sees  but he
   doesn't  make  much  endeavour  to  change  his  circumstances. My
   spiritual  master,  Srila   Prabhupada,  sometimes  described  the
   analogy of  a  passenger,  a  traveller, in  a  train.  We  may be
   travelling in a train compartment but  we know we are only in that
   train compartment for one, or two, or five, or ten hours so we are
   not very interested  in making  a very  comfortable arrangement in
   the train  compartment. We're  not going  to put  wallpaper on the
   walls, we're not going to paint  it, we're not going to put carpet
   on  the  floor  because  after  all  we  are  only  in  the  train
   compartment for a few hours.
   We are only in this body for  a few days therefore to make so many
   big arrangements to make  a comfortable life for  this body is not
   at all intelligent. Our  business in this world  is to come closer
   to God  so at  the  time of  death  we   will  be thinking  of God
   therefore we will go back to  Him. I am convinced Mary McKillop is
   a saint and that she understood  this philosophy and that her life
   and her teachings  are not  about establishing  a religious order,
   they are  not about  fighting with  the church,  fighting with the
   bishop, fighting with  the Pope  and the internal  politics of the
   Catholic church. They are not about  any of these things, they are
   about how we can live our life for God.
   I met one elderly sister on the way out and she asked me, "Did you
   see the chapel,"  and I  said, "Yes," and,  "Did I  pray to Mary,"
   "Yes, I prayed  to Mary." She  said, "You know  Mary can intercede
   for you,  Mary  is  there at  the  right  hand of  the  Father and
   whatever you want, you  just ask Mary, anything  at all, Mary will
   give it to you."  I was stunned. This  is the encapsulation of the
   whole Christian world at  the moment. They are  not seeing Mary as
   someone we should worship and glorify and follow in her footsteps,
   they are seeing Mary as an assistant to help us in getting what we
   want. When we want something in  our life they think, "Let me pray
   to Mary and Mary will ask God for it then I will get it." There is
   a miracle  they talk  about in  the exhibition  which was  used to
   prove Mary is  a saint.  A lady  was diagnosed  as having terminal
   leukaemia in  1961. She  was told  by the  Sisters that  only Mary
   could help her, if she prayed to Mary, and if they prayed to Mary,
   then Mary  would  help her.  The  doctors were  convinced  she was
   dying. So they prayed to Mary and she didn't die. Mary interceded,
   Mary, they say, "Tapped  God on the shoulder,  and said 'God, will
   you please spare  this woman,' and  God did spare  this woman." So
   this is nice, undobutedly, Krishna says:
              catur-vidha bhajante mam
              janah sukrtion 'rjuna
              arto jijnasur artharthi
              jnani ca bharatarsabha
   "Four types of pious  persons come to Me,  the person in distress,
   the person  desiring  wealth, the  inquisitive  and the  person in
   knowledge." He says, "Of all these the person in knowledge is best
   because the motivation  is more or  less pure, but  the others are
   all great souls because when they want something they turn to Me."
   The Christian mood of turning to  God when they are in distress or
   in need is pious. It is the  sign of a great soul, but Mary wasn't
   like that. When there was difficult  times in her life, she didn't
   pray to God, "Please God  change this." Mary recalled her thoughts
   at the time of her excommunication  from the church, she said, "It
   was the most  amazing experience  in my life,  at that  time I was
   feeling the power of the church and the power of the Bishop, but I
   was feeling so close to God, my heart was so joyful and it was one
   of the  most blissful  moments of  my life."  She wasn't disturbed
   that her whole  life, her  whole organization,  everything she had
   put her faith  in, everything  was being destroyed,  she was being
   excommunicated from the Catholic church. But she was felling great
   ecstasy of love of God within her heart.
   So Mary's mood and the elderly sister's mood I spoke to on the way
   out of the exhibition are quite  different and I think Mary's mood
   has have been lost in the  church. They have missed the point, the
   point is  to  develop  love  for  God,  the  point  is  to situate
   ourselves in a position so we can always be feel close to God.
   I hear the  original Mary is  now appearing in many  places in the
   world telling  the Catholics  they  should say  the rosary,  but I
   don't think  many of  them are  saying it.  Mary is  appearing and
   saying, "You should  chant the  rosary," but  no one  is taking it
   seriously. My request to  the Catholic church  is that they should
   seriously look into  their hearts  and follow the  example of Mary
   McKillop and the instructions of the original Mary and pray to God
   and say the rosary. We know,  as devotees of Krishna that the real
   spiritual process in this age is the chanting of the holy names of
   God. Lord Caitanya  Mahaprabhu, who is  the incarnation of Krishna
   who appeared specifically for this age, has instructed to us:
                 harer nama harer nama
                 harer namaiva kevalam
               kalau nasty eva nastya eva
                nastya eva gatir anyatha
   "In this age  of Kali, in  this very difficult  time for spiritual
   life, the only way,  the only way, the  only way to make spiritual
   advancement is the chanting of the holy names of God." So we chant
   this Hare Krishna  Hare Krishna,  Krishna Krishna  Hare Hare/ Hare
   Rama Hare  Rama, Rama  Rama Hare  Hare, which  means, "Please God,
   engage me in Your service."  For the Christians Mary is appearing,
   even now Mary is  appearing in so many  places, and she is saying,
   "Please chant the rosary." The  rosary is also glorifying God, the
   name of  God  is there.  So  surely  if the  Catholics  follow the
   instructions of Mary they will be successful.
   This is my  humble little  effort at offering  something to Sister
   Mary McKillop. I offer my respects to her and ask
   her to help me in my efforts to become Krishna consciousness.

Thank you. Hare Krishna!

Madhudvisa dasa       
(     /sudarsana 
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!