HE WEEKEND BEFORE LAST saw the annual pilgrimage from the Maternal Heart of Mary Church to the shrine of St Mary of the Cross in North Sydney. They set off at about 12 noon aiming to arrive at the tomb of the saint for Vespers at about 5pm. There’s lots of historic sandstone, rosaries, banners, hymns and a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then the final climb up Mount St to the Memorial Chapel. God willing I’ll be there next year.
St Mary of the Cross is better known as Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first canonised saint. She founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and set up schools for poor children.
And here is the hymn. Written by Rev. Fr. Dominic Popplewell of FSSP Canberra.
THOU maiden-mother’s progeny,
O Jesu, holy Virgins’ King,
we raise our lowly hearts to thee,
another fruitful Virgin sing.
The glory of her maidenhead
devoted to her Spouse divine,
in wedlock mystical, she bred
the daughters of a noble line.
The ocean vastness braving, fared
her parents to a distant shore,
by faith and love their child prepared
to seek the pearl of hidden store.
The lambs of Christ she saw bereft
of guidance and of nourishment:
his Cross to bear, all else she left,
his Heart to please made all her bent.
His Providence was all her fund,
his Foster-father all her ward;
all other maintenance she shunned:
her spirit, all unladen, soared.
The stroke of gladness or of woe,
when it befell, could never change
her purpose, sway her to forgo
her plighted faith, true love estrange.
O blessed Mary, in the train
of that fair Bridegroom, that great Lord,
the spotless Lamb for sinners slain,
pray him for us, grace to afford.
May he from every fell design
the purchase of his pain defend,
where his device he bids to shine
amid the stars, his mercy send.
The land that owns thy mortal birth
be now the claimant of thy care,
and every clan of men on earth
the heirs of thy deserts and prayer.*
Then to the bounteous One-and-Three
whence all things are, where all things tend,
true Godhead, sovereign mastery,
be praise and glory without end.
It is suggested to be sung to the tune Jesu corona virginum (here written out in full for easy singing).
In case 10 stanzas is a little long, here is a four verse hymn I prepared earlier.
* or “gain by thy merits and thy prayer.” as you prefer.