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Born in Victoria, Fr John Wallis (1910-2001), Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Hobart, founded the Australian Religious Order, the Missionary Sisters of Service, in Tasmania, in 1944. The Sisters were to be available to go into the highways and byways; and flexible to meet the pastoral needs of isolated communities throughout Australia.
This series of letters to John’s parents and family gives us a rare and precious insight into his life as a seminarian and young priest. They also reflect a growing development of his piety and spirituality, where seeds were sown that would develop into his deep concern for people, especially the poor and the marginalised in rural and outback areas of Australia, and for ways to meet their pastoral and social needs.
The letters have been arranged in ten chapters, with a general introduction about that period in John’s life. Each letter itself has a commentary that contextualises the letter, providing biographical and other details that make the entire series come to life, tracing his experiences, development, misgivings and plans. They anticipate his enthusiasm for the changes that followed the Second Vatican Council and played such a part in his priestly ministry.
The series of letters in each chapter close with insightful reflections from eminent Australians who consider John’s character and spiritual growth as well as applying his insights into contemporary Church life in Australia.
‘Bernadette Wallis has provided the contemporary reader with a lovingly familiar insight into the development and vision of one of Australia’s great pioneer priests…’ Fr Frank Brennan SJ$44.95