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A set of new Mary MacKillop artworks in Melbourne

A newly commissioned artwork of Australia’s first saint was recently unveiled and blessed online at the Catholic Parish of St Mary of the Cross, Mordialloc and Aspendale in Victoria.

The parish is home to two churches – St Brigid’s and St Louis de Montfort – and the same artwork has been installed at each. The artwork allows Mary to welcome people into the churches as they arrive.

The depiction of Mary is an acknowledgement of Mary's pioneering work in education, with the choice of children depicted with Mary – the new Australian girl and the indigenous boy – recognising Mary's passion to provide education for all.

The artwork was created by Entanglements, a local business which specialises in metal art and is spearheaded by award-winning designer Helen Neyland. Helen has close connections with St Brigid’s.

There are three layers to the artwork: the two outer layers are made of rusted metal, followed by a central layer of stainless steel. Part of its allure is the way the artwork changes depending on the time of day and the angle at which it is viewed. The shadows determine the actual image and how Mary and the children look. Visitors are encouraged to walk around the artwork to identify with its different views.

As part of the blessing, the Parish priest, Fr Andrew Jekot presented a third-class relic of St Mary MacKillop, which belongs to local parishioner Alan Dinon. The relic had been a gift from a Sister of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the congregation co-founded by St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison-Woods.

St Mary of the Cross constantly brought hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy. Fr Jekot said, "We pray that this artwork becomes a symbol of our own oneness with Mary and a reminder that we too might live with the same courage, trust, and openness, especially during these difficult days."

Original material by Melbourne Catholic