Sunday, September 18th, 2011 - Mary MacKillop Foundation
- Australians celebrate and remember, but not as you might expect -

Australia, 17 September: In one month, Australians will celebrate the Anniversary of the Canonisation of Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop.

Those expecting a sombre experience to mark the Anniversary of the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop, would be surprised to hear that it involves Zumba® Fitness Parties, Sisters of St Joseph travelling Australia in a special tourvan and rolling up their sleeves for disaster recovery, and a national Green & Gold Day to be held in schools, workplaces and community groups across Australia.

“The Mary MacKillop Foundation has the responsibility of continuing the legacy of Australia’s first saint, and we do it in unique way. Meeting needs in a way that restores self-reliance and human dignity is our priority, and we aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves or encourage a bit of fun in the process,” explained Sam Hardjono, CEO of the Mary MacKillop Foundation.

To mark the Anniversary of the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop, the Mary MacKillop Foundation is holding Australia’s first Green & Gold Day. Green & Gold Day is all about supporting Aussies who make a difference, and celebrating the Australian helping spirit.

On 14 October the Mary MacKillop Foundation is inviting everyone to wear Australia’s national colours and to join in the celebration of the Aussie spirit of helping those in need. During their lunch breaks people can join us in beating the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people participating in multiple Zumba® Fitness Parties which will be held across Australia including near the Opera House, Victoria Square in Adelaide, ACU in Melbourne, University of Notre Dame in Perth and ACU in Queensland.

“The legacy of Mary MacKillop does not belong to the Sisters of St Joseph or the Mary MacKillop Foundation, rather she is part of history for all Australians. As a nation we all have an appreciation for the small, unknown heroes who are making a difference to the needs around them, without an expectation of receiving anything in return. Green & Gold Day will be raising funds to support these Aussies who make a difference,” said Mr Hardjono.

In keeping with Mary MacKillop’s philosophy to ‘never see a need without trying to do something about it’, the Mary MacKillop Foundation continues her legacy by supporting community-based ‘small life changing projects’ across Australia that help people to overcome destitution, isolation, and the effects of misfortune. The Foundation also provides tertiary scholarship funding for Indigenous Australians to attend Australian universities to receive vital skills that they can use to help their communities, with 40 students graduating by the end of 2011.

Every year the Mary MacKillop Foundation gives grants of up to $10,000 each to small life changing projects. To date the Foundation has funded over 350 ‘small life changing projects’.

These projects include a group that helps reconnect elderly Australians in Queensland who evacuated from their homes during the recent floods, a sports camp for young Sudanese refugees, volunteers who give free English lessons or organise community dinners new Australians and those in need and not-for-profits that offer transport for Indigenous Australians who were stranded by Cyclone Yasi.

This year, the Foundation doubled the amount of grants available to offer extra support to projects that have a particular regard to natural disaster recovery in Australia. To help raise money for grants they launched the Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery that sees two Sisters of St Joseph driving to towns all across Australia in a special tourvan, visiting thousands of schools and community groups as well as areas affected by recent natural disasters.

Recipients of the Foundation’s 2012 project grants will be announced in the week of Green & Gold Day, also the week of the Anniversary of the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

For more information on Green & Gold Day, visit

Twitter: @marymackillop
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Mary MacKillop Foundation

In the same way that Australia’s first saint, St Mary MacKillop, responded to the needs of her time, the Mary MacKillop Foundation responds to the needs of our time to relieve suffering and give hope by supporting small life changing projects that provide relief from suffering, distress, poverty, destitution, misfortune and helplessness.

Since 1995, the Mary MacKillop Foundation has funded over 300 ‘small life changing projects’, responding to the needs of rural and isolated communities, indigenous groups and people with disabilities. It has also funded Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships for over a decade with 32 graduates and another 35 currently enrolled.

The Mary MacKillop Foundation is an organisation of the Sisters of St Joseph, the congregation that St Mary MacKillop founded in 1866.
Phoebe Netto
P: 0401036610


Mary MacKillop, saint, canonisation, Australian spirit, Aussies, ZUMBA, Green and Gold Day, green and gold, Sandra Sully, small life changing projects, charity, Mary MacKillop Foundation, Sisters of St Joseph



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