Australia’s first saint-to-be Mary MacKillop has been immortalized in a new pop song, adding to the late nun’s growing cultural presence which includes a stage musical, Twitter account and blog.
"Saint Mary MacKillop," a soulful ballad composed and performed by Australian singer-songwriter Gary Pinto, has been released on the online music store iTunes, ahead of her canonization on Oct. 17.
"It was an incredible song-writing experience because the words and melody just came so easily and quickly," said Pinto. "I knew then that my prayers had been answered."
Pinto said he wrote the song after hearing that MacKillop, who died in 1909, was to be canonized after the Vatican ratified two miracles from beyond the grave.
The lyrics include: "Mary is your name, the Angels rejoice through your life. You proclaimed the Name above all names. Helper of the poor, mother of the lonely. Pray for us and the Heavens sing Alleluia."
While money raised from the song will go towards the charity work of the Sisters of St Joseph, the order of nuns founded by MacKillop, Pinto said the main objective is to raise awareness of MacKillop’s life and work.
"It’s a celebration of a great woman’s life. And we wanted to share and let people know the value of God’s love," Pinto told AFP.
A spokeswoman for the Sisters of St Joseph, Sister Mary Mercer, said they hoped the song would inspire all Australians.
"Gary has already begun teaching the song in schools across the country, so that come October, we will have choirs from far and wide across Australia who will be able to join in and sing during the canonization," said Sister Mary.
"Saint Mary MacKillop" is the latest in a wave of activities leading up to the nun’s canonization.
Last week, director Xavier Brouwer announced he was casting for "MacKillop the Musical", while Twitter and Facebook accounts have been set up in MacKillop’s name. She has also been honored through commemorative coins and an eponymous electoral district.