Mary MacKillop inspires young film makers

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 8-10-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Mary Mackillop Canonisation celebrations were kick started last week when The University of Notre Dame Australia, Archdiocese of Sydney, Xt3 and Sisters of St Joseph announced the Looking for Mary video competition winners.

Notre Dame is the major sponsor of this joint initiative. The competition was aimed to help young people engage with Australia’s first saint and encourage them to consider and express what she meant to them.

The winning video, sponsored by Notre Dame, will be shown live at the Canonisation event in both Rome and Sydney (St Mary’s Cathedral) and via SKY webcam.

Family and friends of the ten competition finalists gathered at Notre Dame to hear the judges’ decision and see Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Hayden Ramsay, present young film maker, Kieran Williams, with a first prize of $5000, for his film, Suffering with a Smile.

Mr William’s three-minute feature focused on Daniel Khoury, who died of cancer aged 9. Daniel’s courageous fight and selflessness throughout his suffering paralleled events in the life of Mother Mary MacKillop.

“I wanted to look at one aspect of Mary’s life that made her a saint and then I reflected on people in my own life whom I believed lived saintly lives,” said Mr Williams.

“Daniel went through enormous suffering, but despite all of that he remained cheerful and positive and that is what inspired me.”

Kieran’s entry will be shown to thousands of viewers during the Canonisation celebrations in Rome and at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral on October 17.

The judging panel, including Notre Dame Executive Dean of Arts & Sciences, Professor Gerry Turcotte, 2GB Radio Presenter Alan Jones, Australian Director Claire McCarthy, and Sr Patricia Malone of the Josephites, said the film captured how Mary MacKillop was ‘alive today’.

The $2000 second prize went to Alfio Stuto for his film, Mary of the Cross and third prize, an IT package, was won by Thomas Ricciardiello and Anh Ngugen for their film based on Mary’s iconic quote, “Never see a need without doing something about it.”

When presenting the prizes, Professor Ramsay said he was impressed by the young cinematographers’ understanding of Mother Mary’s Saintliness.

“The best part about watching all the videos was encountering young people who firmly believe that our saint-to-be is alive and working in 2010; she is alive in heaven and so she is at work interceding for us on earth,” said Professor Ramsay.

“Blessed Mary MacKillop lived for her Sisters, for young people and for education; today we are proud to bring her Sisters and our young people together at the Broadway site where Catholic education was being delivered when Mary was young – and where it is still being delivered today.”

During the event, Foxtel launched their docu-drama, Blessed Mary: A Saint for All Australians, which will screen on the History Channel, October 10, and coincide with the Canonisation. The hour-long feature will detail the incredible life of Mary MacKillop.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders
02 8204 4407