Melbourne News

Site of Mary MacKillop’s birthplace not under threat, says Church

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Media and Communications Office
Located at the top of Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, the birthplace of Australia’s first saint, St Mary MacKillop, is in safe hands. After reports in the Herald Sun that the Catholic Church is ‘selling off the birth site’ of St Mary MacKillop, both the Church and St Vincent’s Private Hospital, the purchaser of the site, have taken pains to point out that the St Mary’s birthplace is in no way imperiled. 

Director of Media and Communications for the Archdiocese, Shane Healy, has stated firmly that the development will not threaten the birth site.

‘St Vincent’s are in the process of acquiring the property from the Archdiocese of Melbourne and are respectful and aware of the responsibilities that come with ownership of the site,’ he said.

‘St Vincent’s Hospital plans do not propose to build over this sacred site nor will the building overhang the actual birthplace.’

Concurring with Healy, St Vincent’s Hospital CEO Ian Grisold said, ‘St Vincent’s and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne have worked assiduously to maintain the memorial garden which honours the birthplace of Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first Saint. It is, and will remain, a sacred place for prayer and reflection.’

He added, by way of explanation, ‘St Vincent’s and the Archdiocese have agreed on arrangements under which together they will jointly protect and preserve the St Mary of the Cross Memorial Garden for future generations.

‘The planned expansion of St Vincent’s Private Hospital will ensure this iconic hospital is better able to serve the needs of Victorians for many years to come. Meanwhile, The Sisters of St Joseph remain committed to ensuring the purpose of the sacred garden is maintained and importantly, accessible for future generations.’

It was made clear both by Shane Healy and Ian Grisold that there are no plans to build on the Memorial Garden that has been established to recognise the MacKillop birthplace.

The $57 million redevelopment will include eight additional operating theatres, a new 12-chair day oncology unit, more consulting suites, and 90 new inpatient rooms.
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