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A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia

2021 - Shortlisted


A Bridge Between is an emotionally complex, caring and yet critical history of the Benedictine missionary sisters of New Norcia and their work alongside the Aboriginal peoples of Western Australia. With a foreword by Sister Veronica Therese Willaway of the Yued and Whadjuk peoples of the Noongar Nation, this book offers an intimate retelling of the lives of the Spanish Sisters — their immigration to Australia, religious motivations and missionary work between 1904 and 1974. 

Drawing on interviews with surviving Sisters and Aboriginal peoples, and illustrated with candid photographs of their daily lives, A Bridge Between is more than a religious history. It speaks to broader social issues of Australian history and offers important context upon which to build nuanced accounts of Aboriginal children’s separation and institutionalisation. Massam’s compelling book is the result of decades of deep and respectful listening, combined with meticulous archival research in Spanish and English.