WHEN Megan Hancock steps into a Josephite habit next Sunday (November 8) in the “privileged role” of Blessed Mary MacKillop she’ll be part of a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
“To have the chance to share the stories of Mary MacKillop’s life … is essentially, a gift,” the Australian Catholic University, Banyo, student said.
“It is definitely a daunting experience for me due to the scale of this production but I feel privileged and honoured to have been asked to perform in this role.”
Preparations for the arts and education students’ role began with a familiar practice.
“Initially I researched Mary MacKillop’s life and history so that I was confident with her background,” Megan said.
“Then once I received my script it was a matter of learning the lines and getting a grip on the various thoughts and emotions that Mary would have felt in the ups and downs of her life.
“We have also been meeting on a regular basis for rehearsals and will be until the day of the performance.”
Brisbane’s City Hall will welcome guests for the 2pm “centenary concert” marking the 100th anniversary of the death of Australia’s likely first saint and patron of Brisbane archdiocese.
“It will delve into the life of Mary MacKillop – her trials and tribulations, journeys, determination for equality for all and her purpose in life,” Megan said.
“This show will go beyond a simple timeline of her development of the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph – with true stories from her childhood and how she was led into the arms of God to help make a difference in Australia.
“This story will show people the real Mary MacKillop.” The striking brunette said the concert “won’t disappoint” – with many Sisters of St Joseph collaborating with ACU leaders in the production that also welcomes playwright Rupert McCall and students from various colleges following Josephite traditions.
“People should come to this show to experience an array of talent including acting, singing and dancing from various members of the community,” Megan said.
“This is an opportunity for people to learn a bit more about Mary MacKillop and to appreciate the legacy of her work and contribution to Australian life and education.”
Performing in this year’s ACU production of Skating on Sandgate Road and having just presented William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, drama lecturer and specialist Dr Tracy Sanders said Megan’s one of her “best”.
“Megan brings to the role of Mary MacKillop a great sense of sensitivity, understanding and intelligence,” Dr Sanders, who’s directing the centenary concert with ACU counterpart Andrew Beiers, said.
“(And) in many ways her own personality reflects the Mary MacKillop spirit in that Megan is a courageous young woman, she is spirited, she is compassionate and she is there for everyone in the class.”
Chosen “not only for her talents” other impressive qualities came into view.
“Megan has a capacity to step into a role like Mary MacKillop and bring it to life in a way that Mary MacKillop herself would applaud,” Dr Sanders continued. “Megan embraces Mary MacKillop’s traits and virtues … and has brought that to the role in a very passionate and beautiful way.”
The 23-year-old was born in Canberra and moved to Queensland at age four.
Megan, her four siblings and parents, are a close unit. “I am blessed with a very close-knit family who all care about each other immensely,” she said.
“We were raised in a very grounded household and were brought up to be kind and courteous to everyone.”
Based in Morayfield, on Brisbane’s northern outskirts, Megan “loves to spend time with family whenever possible” with her Mum a “role model”.
“Mum is such as strong person,” she said.
“She was and still is always there for us and a huge supporter of whatever dreams we want to pursue in our lives.
“Many people say that they would parent differently to how they were parented but I can only wish that I will be half the mother that my Mum is.”
Keeping in tune with family amid a busy study and part-time work schedule, Megan’s sights are set on high school teaching specialising in drama.
“Right now my aspirations are to finish my degree and become a high school teacher,” she said.
“I feel that I can make a difference in others’ lives by providing them with opportunities to express themselves through drama, just as I have been given this opportunity (of playing the part of Blessed Mary MacKillop).”
Amongst life’s busyness Megan’s “remaining faithful and trusting in God”.
“My belief in God is important to me,” she said.
“It keeps me grounded and I know that everything happens in life for a reason – the good and the bad.”
For tickets to the Mary MacKillop 100 Concert next Sunday call the Sisters of St Joseph on (07) 3266 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (adults are $10 and children aged 6-18 years $5).
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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