Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2011 Contents 16
| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
KATHLEEN S MIRACULOUS CURE from
cancer was declared by the Vatican
to be the second of the two miracles
attributed to Mary MacKillop which led
to her being declared our first Australian
saint in October last year.
To celebrate this anniversary, Aurora
asked Kathleen to give our readers a rare
glimpse into her life, ministry and faith.
I cannot believe it is twelve months since
Mary MacKillop was canonised and how
the last year has changed my husband,
Barry's, and my life forever.
Looking back to that time in Rome when
Barry, our daughters, Annette and Lisa,
and I were fortunate enough to attend
the Canonisation, I'm still in awe of the
fact that I played a big part in bringing
it all together. I was the last part of
God's bigger plan of giving Australia our
Another unforgettable day was the day of
our own Australian Mass in 'Saint Paul
outside the Walls' church, celebrated by
Cardinal Pell. It was very moving when the
Sisters of Saint Joseph led the procession
into the church, they looked so proud and
my heart went out to them.
How is your health?
God has given me back good health and
Barry and I are using it in spreading the
love of the Lord in the only way we can, in
sharing our story.
Do you feel confident that the cancer will
I am often asked this question and answer
'yes'. I have a knowing (which is different
to a feeling) I will never experience cancer
again. I know I have to die some day but it
won't be from cancer.
How do you make sense of being the
subject of a miracle?
I still don't know the answer to the
question 'why me?' but I don't dwell on it
much because I know Jesus walks with me
and while ever that happens, I'm all his.
Our ministry is rewarding. I feel privileged
to be the person chosen to spread God's
word through my story and Mary's story.
We also hear great stories from people
Who is St Mary MacKillop for you?
My very close friend in heaven who prays
for me constantly.
Why have you spent most of this year
travelling with Barry? What have been
Before the Canonisation we were very
busy. First I spoke in our former home
town of Windale to thank the people for
keeping my story quiet for five years -
Father Gerard Mackie (parish priest) said
that was the third miracle! I was very
nervous but determined. It went well. The
people appreciated it and we were pleased
to be back.
Then we spoke to the Sisters of St Joseph
in Newcastle and Sydney. Before long
we were asked to go to Bathurst where
we gave nine talks over seven days
in five towns. After that we knew this
had become the ministry we had been
We visited Penola, where it all started
for Mary MacKillop. What a privilege it
was to share our story, walk the streets
that Mary walked and talk to the children
at the school that Mary and Fr Tenison
One of our many talks in South Australia
occurred in Adelaide, at the first Mother
House for the Sisters of St Joseph.
Later we headed to Darwin where our
oldest daughter, Julie, and her family
live. When we arrived at Katherine I was
asked to talk to the Indigenous Diocesan
Pastoral Council Leaders at Nungalinga
College. It blew me away when I found
out that this is East Lakes Parish's Social
Justice National Charity. Julie heard me
speak for the first time and there were
other hometown connections so this was a
rewarding night. God is good!
We will be back in Newcastle soon. We
have no house, so where we will be, I do
not know, but I know that God is with us.
Please pray that I will always listen
"I can still feel tingles down my spine when I think of my privilege in carrying
the relic of Mary MacKillop to the Pope during the Canonisation Mass in
St Peter s Square. Representing all Australians is something I will never
forget," reflects former Windale resident, Mrs Kathleen Evans.
Aletia Pepperall, Kaylee Sparkes and
students of St Joseph s Charlestown.
We're all normal By TRACEY EDSTEIN
on the road
By CATHERINE MAHONY
"HOW FAST DOES that wheelchair go?"
The presentation at St Joseph's
Primary Charlestown was titled "Just like
you" and this question indicated that the
Year 6 student was just like other boys his
age -- interested in the big things!
This young man, with his classmates, was
listening attentively to Aletia Pepperall,
25, who has Cerebral Palsy, and her carer,
Kaylee Sparkes. Aletia and Kaylee were
making their third visit to St Joseph's, so
now they have spoken to all students about
being a person with a disability, rather than
a disabled person.
Aletia chooses to visit schools and other
groups to spread the simple message
that "We're all normal." She has a new
super duper wheel chair which did draw
some attention, and this provided an
opportunity to explain that it's important to
see the person in the chair. Students were
impressed by Aletia's insistence that they
could ask anything -- "I won't be offended,
I've heard it all before!"
The "Just like you" program is activity
based and very effective in informing the
children, engaging them in conversation
and challenging stereotypes. Teacher
Angela Lloyd says, "The "Just Like You"
program has been of tremendous benefit
to our students by developing a far greater
awareness of what it means to have a
disability and how to interact with those
The program incorporates outcomes
from the Stage 3 (Years 5 & 6) Human
Society and its Environment & Personal
Development, Health and Physical
Heulwen Spencer-Goodsir of Year 6
reflected afterwards, "Aletia has Cerebral
Palsy, which means she can't move her
legs and arms where she wants them to
go, but that doesn't mean she can't live
her life to the fullest. Aletia dreams of
going to the Paralympics in five years time
for bocce. She inspired me -- you can do
anything if you put your mind to it. Meeting
her has been a great experience that I'll
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