Australian Heroes and Saints

Sheila McCreanor


Those revered as heroes in Australian society reflect essential elements of the Australian identity: the Aussie Battler, individualism, exceptional courage or commitment and links to the Bush heritage with its tradition of hosptlality. The ideals of mateship (incorporating citizenship and helping others in times of crisis), as well as egalitarianism are prized. How do these angles on the Australian Identity relate to traditional views of Saints within the Catholic Church? I believe that many Australian heroes display the characteristics traditionally linked to saints: their stance for truth, willingness to sacrifice life for an ideal, opposition to misguided authority and willingness to extend practical charity without judgement or expectation of return. Ned Kelly and Mary MacKillop will be considered as exemplars of saints and heroes.

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