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Rome 17 October 2010

Mary MacKillop, born 1842,
what are the clergy giving you
on my birthday, Mother Mary?

Sainthood? So long after God did?
Independence? But you’re your own Scot.
The job of Australian icon?

Well yes. Black flies in the buggy.
Bush pianos. The cheek-sawing wimple
in summer: you did do local penance.

Your vow to “educate poor children””
might you now say “to heal
the education of poor children”?

Who says a woman can’t rise
in the Church? Mother Mary,
awake in Heaven, pray for us.