Patron for Whistleblowers?

Revelations that the southern hemisphere’s next saint blew the whistle on clerical sex abuse, which netted her an excommunication. Mary McKillop: no wonder she’s venerable.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Patron for Whistleblowers?

  1. Sherry Weddell says:


    I have the most detailed, “authorized” biography of hers and the author carefully skirted the issue, simply called Fr. Keating’s offense “scandalous conduct”. Not even our Australian director had heard anything about this. In the three weeks to go before the Australian PM flies to Rome for her canonization, this will be the topic of conversation.

    But of course, she was not excommunicated for this as such. We don’t even know that it was Mary, herself, who blew the whistle.

    Stories reached her sisters who told Fr. Wood, who was regarded as their “founder” and he passed it on the Bishop. One of the culprit’s confreres, choose to try and get back at Fr. Wood by destroying his most vulnerable work – the Josephite Sisters – and he did so by
    persuading their Bishop to arbitrarily change their rule.

    When they refused to accept a rule other than the rule to which they were vowed, the sisters were disbanded and Mary excommunicated on the accusation that she was “disobedient” to a command to go to a certain city which was (she knew) just an excuse to get her out of the way as they dismantled the cities. She asked repeatedly to see the Bishop before she left – and that was her disobedience.

    There were lots of other complicating factors like the fact the Fr. Wood was crazy and supporting two hysterically dramatic sisters who were having all sorts of very weird spiritual experiences despite Mary’s protests. And this episode hardly exhausts Mary’s and the Josephites’ troubles with Bishops and clergy. She had two more battles with bishops in the years to come and was removed for a period of years from being General of the community.

    But the picture that most people will come away with is the simple one of Mary “blew the whistle” on a priest-abuser and was personally singled out and excommunicated. When in fact, it was her priest co-founder who blew the whistle by contacting the Bishop and the Josephites as a community were the target of retribution because they were Fr. Wood’s “baby”. Mary, as superior, had to be destroyed in order to destroy the community.

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