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The KSC MacKillop Cross, Sacred Heart Church

Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving

For the Life of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop


As the Knights of the Southern Cross in South Australia conclude their one hundred and first year of operation in February2023 we will be conducting a Pilgrimage of the Cross in thanksgiving for the life and work of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. As St Mary of the Cross MacKillop is the Patron Saint of the Order this is an appropriate way to conclude our centenary celebrations.


The cross is on display in Sacred Heart Church, Semaphore until Saturday August 5th. Please come & visit during Parish Office hrs and Mass Times.



The cross in question was constructed by the Penola Branch of the KSC. This pilgrimage is the third since 1986 and is being conducted with the blessing and cooperation of the Sisters of St Joseph and the Archbishop of Adelaide. The intention is that the cross will be made available for veneration and prayer in churches in most parishes in the Adelaide Diocese and beyond.


The place of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop has long been found in the hearts of many Australians. The depth and breadth of her impact and that of the sisters who joined her, has been part of the Australian landscape for almost 160 years. This is particularly so for us in South Australia where Mary MacKillop began her mission. It was here, at Penola in 1866, that she co-founded the religious order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart with the then parish priest, Fr Julian Tenison-Woods.


Mary MacKillop opened a school room in a disused stable in Penola on 19 March 1866. She wore a simple black dress as a sign of a radical life change. The first school set the pattern for many to come - it was for the children of the working class, providing a basic but thorough education, aiming to make children independent, employable, and well-grounded.


The KSC Mackillop Cross

It was from the discarded floorboards of the original school that the Knights of the Southern Cross at Penola fashioned two crosses in 1986. The crosses were an identical pair made from the narrow floorboards which gave an assembled structure to each cross of 2.7m tall by 1.4m wide.


The first of the crosses was presented to Pope John Paul II during his open-air Mass at Randwick in November 1986, and presumably remains in the Vatican Archives.


The second cross, now resuming its pilgrimage, was presented to then Archbishop of Sydney, Edward Cardinal Clancy. The cross remained in Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral for many years.


Proudly sponsored by Blackwell Funerals

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