Former president of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Trevor Cohen, said he glowed with pride
when Mary MacKillop became a saint on Sunday. His great-great-great uncle, Emanuel Solomon, played a large role in her life, providing her with a home when she was ex-communicated from the Church.
"It was a wonderful feeling because I felt she deserved to be a saint very much," Cohen told The Australian Jewish News. "She was clearly a wonderful woman who did amazing things."
"I felt good that one of my forebears might have had a small part in her becoming a saint and It was very moving to watch the ceremony."
Cohen said Solomon was one of 19th-century Adelaide's most colourful characters and was transported to the Antipodes from London in 1818 for possession of stolen property. After his emancipation, Solomon rose to become an upstanding citizen.
He set up successful businesses and took his place in South Australia's fledgling Jewish community before entering South Australia's Parliament.
The philanthropist was drawn to MacKillop's extensive charitable work, and twice took action to help her and her order of nuns, helping them move from crowded, rented premises - and taking Mary in when she was excommunicated.
Mary MacKillop later wrote that "the kindness shown by the Jewish community has been remarkable".
Saint Mary's Jewish saviour (The Australian Jewish News)
Image from the Notre Dame website detailing celebrations around the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop