Merilyn Luck admires the Mary McKillop painting now on display at the Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Merilyn Luck admires the Mary McKillop painting now on display at the Rockhampton Art Gallery. Sharyn O'Neill

Tribute to Mother Mary

LEARNING about the dedicated work of Mary MacKillop at school inspired CQUniversity resident artist Luke Roberts to paint this Australian tribute.

Mother Mary MacKillop, who established the Josephite Order of nuns called the Sisters of St Joseph, will be the first Australian to become a saint when she is canonised in Vatican City on October 17. To mark this special occasion, Luke's piece of art, “Mother Mary”, has been put on show at the Rockhampton Art Gallery.

In the artist's words, the piece depicts the motherly and caring nature of Mary MacKillop and the joey kangaroos represent her order and the children she nurtured through establishing schools to educate disadvantaged children in the Australian bush and the poorer city suburbs. Luke, who grew up in Alpha, said he benefited from the efforts of Mary MacKillop via the Sister of St Joseph's convent school in Alpha, CQ.

A large photograph of Mary hung in his classroom and the students were aware of Mother Mary's work from an early age.

The nuns were respectful of their founding sister.

Merilyn Luck, chair of the gallery trust, said the art, which they acquired in 1999, would be on display for a couple of months as part of the current Australian outback themed exhibition.



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