What is charism? In religious contexts, the word charism is used commonly, but its meaning is not always easy to understand. In its simplest definition, a charism is a gift, or extraordinary healing power, given from God to a person to live out the Gospel message. When religious communities use the word charism, they mean the particular gift or healing power that their founder was given by God so that they could turn their vision into action and live by its values.
When we want to understand the details of a particular charism, we often need to look no further than the story of a community’s founder, as this will reveal the charism in action. For Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland, the life and actions of St. Mary MacKillop are a clear roadmap to how this community is being called and shaped in its work. In our community, the Josephite Charism helps us shape the care, environment, and education provided to children and families. This purpose gives meaning to life, motivates community members to live life fully, and encourages us to keep doing what we do.
So, who was St. Mary MacKillop, and why does MMCNQ look to her for guidance?
Firmly believing in the value of education as the foundation for a fulfilling life, Mary had a clear vision; to provide education for all. Throughout the late 1800s, St. Mary MacKillop established several schools and welfare institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand, focusing primarily on providing education to the underprivileged.
Celebrated for her selfless work, St. Mary MacKillop was not only an educator but also a pioneer and someone who shared immense compassion for others, regardless of their situation or race. Guided by this deep compassion, she lived her life by the motto of never seeing a need without doing something about it.
Today, Josephite organisations and schools try to emulate and continue the work begun by Mary in the 1860s. Her charism provides the platform and the values of these organisations, including MMCNQ. As such, the belief that education is the way to improve the lives of vulnerable Australians, faith in God’s providence, and an unwavering commitment to compassion are the cornerstones of our work.