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THEO982

The Spirituality of Mary MacKillop

Unit overview and content

This unit provides students with the opportunity to study the cultural, historical and political context of the life of Mary MacKillop Australia’s’ first Church - recognised Saint. An understanding of culture is intrinsic to any study of persons and eras. Culture dictates who we are and how we behave. This course looks at the background of Mary MacKillop and her ancestors in the Lochaber district of the Inner Hebrides in the west coast of Scotland. One very disruptive event in Scotland’s history was the Highland Clearances which, though devastating at the time, meant that the Colonies of the British Empire were enriched with many Scottish migrants. Mary’s parents were from the MacKillop and MacDonald Clans,  the latter was a sept of the former meaning that Mary’s mother’s clan was superior to that of her father. The Highland Clearances meant that Mary MacKillop was born Australian rather than Scottish.

Equally important in human flourishing is the historical, political and cultural context of peoples’ lives. These aspects will be addressed as the context for the social and educational changes Mary MacKillop introduced. No story of Mary MacKilllop would be complete without reference to Fr Julian Tenison Woods, her inspiration and the ‘Father Founder’ of the Institute of St Joseph they founded.  Finally, given the sceptical atmosphere of our 21 century world-view the notions of sainthood, miracles and all associated concepts will be discussed with a view to understanding the Spirit that energized Mary MacKillop and ultimately the spirituality which underpinned her educational and social endeavours. Mary is presented within the unit as a model of the spirituality that is fitting for contemporary Australians.

Study hours

10 hours per week for 12 week semester, comprised of:

  • At least one hour per week for online lectures.
  • At least three hours per week of reading.
  • At least six hours per week of directed study, including optional and assessable online activities.

Teaching methods

Online lectures; online activities; guided reading; scaffolded assessments; feedback on assessments. 

Type of Assessment and Weight

  • Online Discussion (30%)
  • Online Discussion (30%)
  • Major Research Essay (40%)
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