Next autumn, Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim Australia's first saint. On October 17, in a formal ceremony at the Vatican, the pontiff will canonize a nineteenth-century nun, Mary MacKillop, from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Devoted to the poor and needy and made famous for establishing schools, orphanages and clinics across the Australian continent, Mother MacKillop (1842-1909) was beatified by Pope John Paul II during a visit to Australia in 1995; he ascribed a cancer-curing miracle to her. More recently, Pope Benedict ascribed a second cancer-curing miracle to the nun. One miracle is required for beatification, two for canonisation.