The Perth Mint has unveiled Australia’s first gold and silver commemorative coin program to celebrate the canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop.
Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver and 1/10oz of 99.99% pure gold, each coin is issued as official Australian legal tender. Each release features a colour portrait of Blessed Mary and the inscriptions SAINT MARY MACKILLOP, AUSTRALIA’S FIRST SAINT, the 2010 year-date and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.
Both commemoratives are individually presented in a gift box accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Only 7,500 silver commemorative coins will be issued by The Perth Mint, while the stricter mintage of 2,010 gold coins further recognises the year in which Australia’s first Saint was declared.
In a ceremony to be performed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on October 17, Blessed Mary will become Saint Mary MacKillop.
In anticipation of this highlight in Australia’s history, Sister Anne Derwin rsj, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, unveiled the tribute coins at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney. Sister Anne gave an inspiring address, recalling Mary’s faith, grace and patience as she overcame numerous challenges in her life to pursue her calling.
"Despite being faced with resistance Mary remained resolute in her faith. She reliably defended her belief that everyone had the right to be accepted, valued and given opportunity regardless of their position in society, level of wealth, or age," said Sister Anne.
Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer, Ed Harbuz, said it was an honour to recognise the significance of Mary MacKillop’s extraordinary life. "We believe that both of these coin tributes are befitting of this unique milestone, and will remind us all of the compassion and generosity with which Mary lived her life," he said.
An ordinary Australian girl, Mary was born in 1842 to Scottish migrant parents. Mature beyond her years and with an instinctive compassionate and selfless nature, Mary grew up to become a devout and determined young woman.
With a passion to educate the underprivileged and outcast, she co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods in 1866, in the South Australian town of Penola. Before long, many Josephite schools, orphanages, homes and refuges could be found across Australia and New Zealand.
The legacy of Mary MacKillop continues today, with the Sisters of St Joseph still providing invaluable education and aid in numerous cities and remote communities throughout the world.
Since Mary’s passing in 1909, she has attracted much veneration within Australia. As she progresses toward Sainthood, she has become an even greater symbol of strength and heroic virtue.
The Saint Mary MacKillop 1oz Silver Coin will retail for $89.50, while the 1/10oz Gold Coin can be obtained for $275.00.
Both commemorative releases can be ordered from The Perth Mint Shop located at 310 Hay Street, East Perth, on FREECALL 1800 098 817, or via the Mint’s online store at www.perthmint.com.au The coins will also be available from Australia Post outlets, leading coin distributors and the Mary MacKillop Place Gift Shop in North Sydney. Delivery of the commemoratives will take place following the canonization ceremony.
About The Perth Mint of Australia
The Perth Mint (http://www.perthmint.com.au/), wholly-owned by the State Government of Western Australia, is the official issuer of the Australian Federal Government’s Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Program. The Mint opened in 1899 in response to the discovery of rich gold deposits in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. It was Australia’s third branch of Britain’s Royal Mint — the others being the Sydney Mint and the Melbourne Mint (both closed). The Perth Mint remained under Britain’s jurisdiction until 1 July 1970, when ownership transferred to the State Government of Western Australia.