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On Friday 8 October a book reflecting on the life and legacy of Mary MacKillop, In the land of larks and heroes: Australian Reflections on St Mary MacKillop, was launched at Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Canberra campus. Featuring a forward by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce AM, the collection of 12 essays was sourced from authors who represent a diverse number of religious perspectives: from Judaism to Muslim, Protestant to Anglican, and Lutheran to Orthodox.  

“The object of this book is to provide an opportunity for voices of other religions to be heard as Australia celebrates its first Catholic Saint, Mark MacKillop of the Cross,” says the book’s editor, Dr Alan Cadwallader, an Anglican priest and Senior Lecturer at ACU. 

The Governor-General Quentin Bryce AM wrote in her foreword: ‘In the land of larks and heroes is an anthology of superbly crafted and intellectually assiduous writings on a remarkable person whose place in our temporal and spiritual story has only begun to be explored and reflected upon in a contemporary context.’ 


Book coverIn the land of larks and heroes: Australian Reflections on St Mary MacKillop, $39.95, is available via the ATF Press website or most good bookstores.

“The strategy to select a range of religious voices was a deliberate attempt to reflect the ecumenical and interfaith character of Australia’s population. Accordingly, a variety of Australian voices needed to be heard, including Orthodox, Jewish, Islamic and a host of Christian voices,” says Dr Cadwallader.

“The only direction given to contributors was to illustrate how holy persons and heroes are esteemed in their own tradition and how this might frame their appreciation for Mary MacKillop.”

Dr Jo Brady, a member of the Sisters of St Joseph (Tasmania) and ACU lecturer in the School of Education, launched In the land of larks and heroes on the grounds of ACU’s Canberra campus on Friday 8 October 

The official launch was followed with a blessing by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who farewelled the ACU staff and students who are journeying to Rome for Mary MacKillop’s Canonisation on Sunday 17 October. In Rome, the ACU Choir will perform with the Vatican Choir at the Mass of the Canonisation, while a creative team drawn from the University’s six campuses will perform a concert depicting the life of Mary MacKillop at a vigil on the eve of her canonisation.