Father Jamie Collins is surrounded by St Mary’s School prep pupils’ well-wishes.
Father Jamie Collins is surrounded by St Mary’s School prep pupils’ well-wishes.

Fr Collins off to Rome

SHE was one of the first women who changed the perception of a Catholic Sister and next week Mary MacKillop will become Australia’s first saint.

Warwick’s Father Jamie Collins – a man whose life has been intertwined with the soon to be Canonised saint – will journey to Rome on Monday for the momentous occasion.

Father Jamie has walked a similar path to Mary MacKillop.

He was ordained at St Mary’s Catholic Church on January 15 – Mary MacKillop’s birthday – and now spreads God’s word in rural and remote areas.

Yesterday Father Jamie visited St Mary’s prep students at the invitation of his niece Sophie to talk about his journey and Mary MacKillop in the same classroom he was schooled as a Year One pupil 36 years ago.

“I’m leading a tour group of 45 people from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop as a Saint in Rome on Sunday, October 17,” Father Jamie said.

“There are 10 people travelling in the group from my parish at St George, including the mayor of the Balonne Shire Donna Stewart. Senator Barnaby Joyce is a parishioner in my parish and is travelling to the Canonisation to represent Tony Abbott. He was commissioned along with the other parishioners travelling to Rome at a Mass in St George last Saturday night.

“The local school at St George was founded by the Josephite Sisters 77 years ago. The nuns also had a school in Dirranbandi for some time, which is also in my parish area.

“My great aunt, Sister Margaret Noreen McGee is a Josephite sister, living in retirement at the Josephite Nursing Home, Penola, which is adjacent to their Convent at Nundah in Brisbane. For some time she lived at the Josephite Convent in Allora. The Josephite Order was founded by Mary MacKillop.”

Father Jamie has never travelled overseas and asked the five and six year olds for some tips for the journey to Rome where he will join about 7000 Australians at the Canonisation Mass.

“Planes aren’t scary,” was the chorus.

Father Jamie is yet to receive word if he will be involved in the service with his “boss” however there was some confusion on the identity of the Catholic “boss”.

“Father Terry? Saint Patrick?” the children guessed.

Once hinted with a “P” the kids were quick to pick Pope.



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