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An Extraordinary Australian: Mary MacKillop : The Authorised Biography Paperback – April, 1995

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Morehouse Pub Co (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0855740388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0855740382
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,046,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
While Paul Gardiner's Mary MacKillop: An Extraordinary Australian clearly shows a woman "with the patience of Job" endeavoring to fulfill her duty time and time again, it also depicts an ecclesiastical establishment often doing its best to stop her. So in a quite unintended way, the biography serves as much as an indictment of the Catholic system of administration as it does a laudatory study of Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

The ironic thing is that it was the endless harangues that Sister Mary endured at the hand of the diocesan hierarchies - and not the challenge of bringing education to Australia's poor - that were the real trial. Gardiner relates how a journalist of the time named Stanley Jones writing under the pseudonym "Vagabond" opined that as far as the Sisters of Saint Joseph were concerned, "'the only troubles they had were with officials of their own faith.'" (236)

After all the petty intrigues and squabbles of the Adelaide and Bathurst chapters, I was loath to read more. Bishops and priests openly defying the authority of Rome, men and women with a sworn duty to follow the will of God dissembling in the most shameless fashion. But then came the Brisbane and Sydney narratives and more Adelaide machinations - enough to break the spirit of the most devoted Christian.

As Gardiner points out, the vindication that comes with the canonization of a long-suffering and heroic soul like Mary MacKillop's also carries with it an implicit condemnation of some of those around her: "It seems to be one of the ironic dispositions of providence that Causes for canonisation not only reveal wonderful reflections of the divine in the soul's of God's special friends, but also bring to light the limitations of others of his servants . . . .
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