Mary MacKillop: A biographical study of Australian sainthood

Steer, Judith M. (1994). Mary MacKillop: A biographical study of Australian sainthood M.A. Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Steer, Judith M.
Thesis Title Mary MacKillop: A biographical study of Australian sainthood
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1994
Thesis type M.A. Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Total pages 97
Language eng
Subjects 2204 Religion and Religious Studies
Formatted abstract
The beatification of Mary MacKillop in 1995 has raised much interest in this great colonial Australian and founding religious leader of the Sisters of St Joseph. This thesis is a biographical study of the Australian sainthood of Mary MacKillop from the point of view of the psychology of religion. It contrasts with other religious biographies on the life of Mary MacKillop.

An overview of religious biography introduces Father Julian Tenison Wood's prefiguring Mother Mary MacKillop in the methodology of Erikson's "eight stage" theory and Hutch's "two laws" theory of religious biography. These theories are used because the thesis examines in Mary's life the human experiences common to all of us. An analysis of the religious biographies of Mary MacKillop identifies her religious qualities using Hutch's two laws of the mortal body. Hutch's theory distinguishes between the "bios" of the life itself and the "graphos" of the life writings. The new term "biosographos" encapsulationg Hutch's original concept is coined in this thesis. The religious qualities are verified in Mary MacKillop's life and relationships as the essence of sainthood.

To summarise, the study defines how the life experiences of beginnings (Natality), creative acts (Sexuality) and endings (Mortality) are the basis for studying the religious life of Mary MacKillop. The resultant qualities of freedom, generosity and fidelity form the essence of her sainthood as heroic virtues. The thesis is completed with a synthesis of sainthood in religious biography highlighting Mary MacKillop as a prototype of what it means to be an Australian saint.
Keyword MacKillop, Mary, 1842-1909
Sisters of St. Joseph (Australia) -- History
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