A YOUNG Irishman whose family believe he was 'saved' from a coma by Mary MacKillop travelled to Rome for her canonisation.
David Keohane (30) -- above -- was left for dead on a Sydney street after an unprovoked beating more than two years ago.
In February last year he started showing signs of slight improvement and on St Patrick's Day 2009 he fully regained consciousness. His condition has improved daily and he is now happy and healthy.
While he was in a coma his family and friends prayed to Sr Mary. His hospital room in Sydney was adorned with mementoes of her.
While not recognised by the Vatican as one of the new saint's official miracles, Mr Keohane is referred to by the Sisters of St Joseph as a "favour".
The Keohanes, from Ballyvolane, Co Cork, first heard of Sr Mary when Sisters of St Joseph nuns visited him , and took family members to her tomb to pray.
Mr Keohane travelled to Rome for the ceremony with his father Tom, who told a newspaper in Australia that the trip was organised to show their appreciation for Sr Mary.
"We want to be there to say 'thank you'," he said.
"That's what this is all about, saying thank you to Mary." His son was "improving" every day.
David Keohane was attacked on August 9, 2008, on the way home from a party in the beachside suburb of Coogee.
The injuries to his head and face were so extensive that friends had to identify him by his clothes.
He remained in a comatose state in Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney and was subsequently flown back to Cork University Hospital.
One of his attackers was jailed for 14 years.