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Updated: December 20, 2009 10:53 IST

Australia set to get its first Catholic saint

DPA
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An undated image of Mary MacKillop. The Vatican announced on Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has approved a decree that Mary MacKillop was responsible for a second miracle, one of the final steps in a long and complex process of investigation before sainthood can be bestowed. Photo: AP
AP An undated image of Mary MacKillop. The Vatican announced on Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has approved a decree that Mary MacKillop was responsible for a second miracle, one of the final steps in a long and complex process of investigation before sainthood can be bestowed. Photo: AP

Mary MacKillop, a Catholic nun who died a 100 years ago, looks set to become Australia’s first saint following Pope Benedict XVI’s acknowledgement Sunday of the second of two miracles needed for her to qualify for canonization.

Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer said the Pope had “confirmed that the cure of a lady from inoperable lung cancer is a true miracle.” MacKillop, who founded the order of the Sisters of St Joseph, died in Sydney in 1909 aged 67.

The Papal decision is the culmination of a century of campaigning to make Melbourne-born MacKillop a saint. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 in recognition of the miraculous recovery of a woman who doctors said had terminal leukaemia in 1961.

“I think with a new and increasing interest in spirituality rather than established religion, young people are looking for models and she would be a very good model for young people,” said Sister Maria Casey, who has championed the cause of sainthood. “She was only 24 when she started her whole congregation, which was very young.”

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