Mackillop_Way__2_.jpg MacKillop Way street sign. (2020) Rachel Sonius. Word on the street collection.

MacKillop Way runs off Brooklands Road, near St Pius X School. It was developed in 2017 along with the associated infill subdivision and the school community suggested the name. 

St Pius X is one of many schools founded throughout Australasia by an order of Catholic women called the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, or Josephites, nicknamed the Brown Joes because of the colour of their habits. The order was created by Mary MacKillop who was proclaimed a saint in 2010, the first Australian to be canonized.  

Born in Melbourne in 1842, MacKillop was the eldest of eight children. Forced to leave school to help support her impoverished family, she worked as a governess and teacher before becoming a nun in 1866 and adopting the religious name of Sister Mary of the Cross. Mary formed the Josephite order and began opening schools as well as orphanages, refuges for “fallen women” and homes for the aged and incurably ill.  

The order was considered unusual because the sisters lived out in communities instead of convents and refused to teach instrumental music. Nor would they take pupils from wealthy families, emphasising education for the poor. The Brown Joes expanded their operations into this country in 1883, and by the 1960s were running 36 primary schools and three secondary schools around New Zealand.  

Mary MacKillop died on 8 August 1909 in Sydney. After her burial, so many people took earth from her grave as a relic that her remains had to be transferred to a memorial chapel.  

Construction of St Pius X School in New Plymouth began in 1951, on the site of what had once been a poultry farm. One of its classrooms is also named after Mary MacKillop and the school motto is “Never see a need without doing something about it”, taken from her teachings.

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