About Mary Helen

Mary Helen MacKillop, also known as Saint Mary of the Cross, is most remembered for her tireless work providing education for the poor and neglected children of Australia. She founded the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and was canonized in 2010 for her "heroic virtue." 

The truly remarkable part of her life was her stalwart role as a crusader for sexual abuse victims. She was excommunicated for several years for speaking out against a priest who was abusing children. Although there is some controversy surrounding the incident, what we do know is Mary Helen was a vocal advocate for survivors. 

We chose her as our representative because she exemplifies what we believe the church - and our world - needs more of: women and men who are willing to face evil, are not afraid to speak about stigmatized issues, and are open to the healing work of Christ.

The Mary Helen Project was founded in 2016 by Joy Zickau, after observing an unfortunate deficit in programs available to survivors. In her research, she uncovered a much deeper deficit in the understanding of and support for survivors specifically within the Catholic Church. The Mary Helen Project aims to provide a bridge between survivors and the church. 

"Whatever troubles may be before you, accept them bravely, remembering Whom you are trying to follow. Do not be afraid. Love one another, bear with one another, and let charity guide you all your life. God will reward you as only He can."

- St. Mary Helen MacKillop