Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, today launched the first coin in the Inspirational Australians' coin series which features the Australian people's saint, Blessed Mary MacKillop.

The Inspirational Australian coin series recognises and celebrates individual achievements and commemorates unique Australians who have made an extraordinary contribution to our society.

"As the Australian people's saint, and someone who could be called Australia's saint in waiting, Mary MacKillop is a fitting choice for the first coin in the Inspirational Australian series."

"The Royal Australian Mint's world class coin designer Vladimir Gottwald has designed a coin which depicts Mary MacKillop guiding future generations. Mary was an exceptional Australian woman who stands as an example of great courage, trust and compassion and as our first saint, she will forever inspire our nation," said Minister Sherry.

Minister Sherry was joined by Janine Murphy, CEO, Vladimir Gottwald, coin designer from the Royal Australian Mint and Sister Sheila McCreanor, Secretary General of the Congregational Leadership Team of the Sisters of St Joseph.

Mary MacKillop, born in Victoria 1842, was a teacher and Catholic nun. Mary founded the Order of the Sisters of St Joseph and set up a parish school for underprivileged children in South Australia. This was the first religious order to be founded by an Australian. Under Mary's guidance, the order established schools and charitable institutions across Australia and was devoted to the care of orphans, neglected children, the homeless, sick and aged.

In 1995, Mary MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The process which could lead to her canonisation is underway. It is hoped she will be declared Saint Mary MacKillop.