Father Paul Gardiner sj
For 25 years Father Gardiner worked on the Cause. In 1973 the introduction of the Cause in Rome was officially announced during the Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne. Cardinal Karol Wotyla was present there and was, as Pope John Paul II, to beatify Mary many years later.
Father Aldo Rebeschini, the secretary to Cardinal Knox who was transferred from Melbourne to Rome began to research material in Rome. Fr Gardiner went to Rome in 1983 to prepare the case – the ‘position” and this took six years to do as it required a full history of Mary MacKillop. He was appointed postulator in 1985 as the previous postulator did not speak English.
By 1992 Fr Gardiner was ready to present the material to the authorities at Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican who approved the cause of Mary MacKillop for canonisation and from that time forward she could be called ‘venerable’. A miracle was required to indicate that Mary had intercessory power so Father Gardiner began the work on finding this miracle which was approved in 1993. The date was set for her Beatification which took place at Randwick, Sydney on January 19, 1995 with Pope John Paul II presiding at the Mass. Mary now had the title “Blessed” and could be honoured in the liturgy for Australia as its first saint.
Father Paul Gardiner continued to work on the cause searching for a second miracle that was required for canonisation.