Two Avondale College lecturers have written a chapter for a book reflecting on the life and legacy of Australia’s soon-to-be canonised first Catholic saint.
“Ellen White: a visionary Seventh-day Adventist” is Drs Rick Ferret and John Skrzypaszek’s contribution to In the Land of Larks and Heroes: Australian Reflections on St Mary MacKillop.
It concludes that the depth of the journey “illustrates the sincerity, integrity, sensitivity to social injustice and boldness to confront the barriers of set traditions that heroes of many faith traditions have encompassed.
The anthology features 12 essays written by representatives from different religious perspectives: from Judaism to Muslim, Protestant to Anglican and Lutheran to Orthodox. Their brief: “To illustrate how holy persons and heroes are esteemed in their own tradition and how this might frame their appreciation for Mary MacKillop,” says editor Dr Alan Cadwallader, an Anglican priest and a senior lecturer in biblical studies in the School of Theology at Australian Catholic University.
In her foreword, Governor-General Quentin Bryce describes the essays as “superbly crafted and intellectually assiduous.”
Rick and John’s essay explores the spiritual journey of Ellen White, a Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneer. It concludes that the depth of the journey “illustrates the sincerity, integrity, sensitivity to social injustice and boldness to confront the barriers of set traditions that heroes of many faith traditions have encompassed. In this respect, both Ellen White and Mary MacKillop reveal a bond of commonality and this insight provides a lens through which Seventh-day Adventists can appreciate the heroes of the many faith traditions throughout the world.”
Drs Rick Ferret and John Skrzypaszek’s exploration of the spiritual journey of Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneer Ellen White features as one of the 12 essays in the anthology In the Land of Larks and Heroes: Australian Reflections on St Mary MacKillop.
This opportunity to learn from those of other faith traditions and have them learn from us is healthy, says John, the director of the Ellen G White Seventh-day Adventist Research Centre. “Sometimes we develop a narrow view of what is relevant. We should focus on the big questions, the meaning and purpose of life and how the search for meaning can make an impact on the world in which we live. The heroes of faith focus on the things that matter.”
The authenticity of Ellen White’s journey challenges our preconceptions about how a hero of our faith should function, says Rick, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Theology who attended the launch on Australian Catholic University’s Canberra campus this past Friday (October 8). “We need to let her story be free to speak for itself.”
Photo credit: Ann Stafford