James Martin writes about the once excommunicated Blessed Mary MacKillop, an Australian sister and co-foundress of a women’s religious order, who will be canonized on Oct. 17. The fascinating part of the story:

is that Mary MacKillop was excommunicated out of “revenge,” in the words of one priest familiar with her life, for her part (and her order's part) in uncovering a case of sex abuse by a Father Keating, in a nearby parish. ...

In the history of persecuted saints, Martin finds one redeeming fact:

that the Catholic Church canonizes those it once reviled or rejectedJoan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Thomas Aquinas, Mother Guérin and now Mary MacKillop--says a great deal about the true wisdom of the churchand its ability, especially in the canonization process, to recognize publicly its own failings and mistakes.  This has always been a sign of hope in the church: the great wrong righted.  (Finally.)

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